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f « 






tic los^nj 













ENTERED, accordingr to the act of Congrefls, in the 
year 1841, by HUGH A. PUE, in the Clerk's Office of 
the E49tem District of Pennsylyania. 



Preface. . * . • . • • ♦ 7 

Letter I. Introduction, . . . 11 

Letter IL Defildtion of Grammar and its 

Branches, K 

Letter m. Etymology. The Parts of 


Letter IV. Etymology of Articles, . 
Letter V. Etymology of Nouns, 
Letter VI. Etjrmology of Pronouns, 
Letter Vn. Etymology of Adjectiyes, 
Letter Vffi. Etymology of Verbs, . 
Letter IX. Etjrmology of Adverbs, 
Letter X. Etymology of Prepositions, 
Letter XI. £t)rmology of Conjunctions, 
Letter XII. S3mtax. Punctuation, 
Letter Xm. Syntax. Articles, 
Letter XIV. Syntax. Nouns, 
Letter XV. Syntax Pronouns, 
Letter XVI. S3mtax. Adjectives, 
Letter XVn. Syntax. Verbs, 
Letter XVin. Syntax. Adverbs, 
Letter XIX. Syntax. Prepositions, 

and Conjunctions, . « 
Letter XX. Correct Writing, . 
Violations of Grammar, taken from the 

Spectator, . » • « 
















Paft K), line 1. after * fiction/ a point if n^vired; mad. 
line 30, for * iMqaiiiton/ read aequiaition. 

r«f e IQ, line 96, for * votory/ read votarjr. 

Page 18, line 10, after * Proeody,* omit tbe comma: 

Page 34, line 38, after *Ck»n)aneti«n8,' omit ttie jsomma, ; 

Page 34, line 16, for * Indefinite,' sead Indeierminiute^ 

Page 46, jine 95, for « U iroit/ read iUroU ; Md, Am 89« 
lG»r *Hroit/re(idiRHL 

Vsgfa Ail line ^< J""' ' InfiiiitL'/ read Infinitive; aad,pline 
3J» fof *lBnTiUivte; r8B(l tnjlmtjTe* 

Pag4 ^, line 34, for 'tlieia dicatWt,' read, tiM indkatlve. 

T^g& 57, line n, for ' disiLgref^aabiD/ read disagreeable. 

pBge flU line ^l. befara ^ThQu elialt; put Snd Penon; 
and, line 2^^ before * tie, sbo, or ii. ahaU/ put Srd.Pereon. 

Patfl ^# U^^ 5. for * pflfittl^e/ read past time. 

Page 68, tjue ]», (only ^ um^n pari of AbeedKion) Ibr 
'prepoiitjiuD; read prcpuiitjaji. 

Pagt: fiS, line S, for * adjecivo/ t9b^ adjective. 

FflKo ^1- li^° ^t (n^ly a ^inall portion of tlie editioi^ftur 
» pliToBeB,' read: pauses, omitting iha comma; alao, omitting 
tbe comma Jti tbt^ neii line foUowjng. ufLer * commas.* 

r«ge 7St liiie ^. f^T ' influenciQl,' read infiuenjUiU ; *1ld» 
Uuft % foi * poflueBclai/ read influentUL 

Vage 73. tine 38, after * eaj,' put a comma. 

Fa£0 i]Si line 40, aUcr ' eense/ instead of ft commft, A 
point ii required. 

Fftf e 1%^, line S. aOer ' £tow/ omit the comma. 

rage 139, line^, l^ir 'a u^iv ineUnceB/ read an iaaUnca, 

fAga )4U. lint! ^i, for ' pi All sal) l4^/ reAd plandUe. 

Page 146. line m, (very emBll portion of the edition) fiir 
* part of the sentence,* read part of the laat MBtenae. 


If it was inrariably true, that in proportion to the nom- 
ber of works published upon a subject, will be the general 
informa^on in regard thereto, the publication of 'the 
present book i^oold be entirely unnecessary. But it is not 
always true ; for notwithstanding more works have, of late, 
been given to the public upon the vubject of English Gram- 
mar; than upon any other, that subject is less understvod 
by the mass of the oommuoity, than idmost any ihat 
could be named ; and this, too, when the books are read, 
by persons of nearly all ages ; and whm thousands fif 
teachers overrun the land. And not only are the mass of 
the people ignorant of English Grammar, but those who 
{MTofess great knowledge of it, and even those who make 
the teaching of it, their business, will be found, upon ex- 
amination, to be very far from understanding its principles* 
Such being the state of things, the. present publication is 
not only necessary, but is urgently called for. 

The designs of the author, are, to impart His instruc- 
tions in the plainest and most fiuniliar manner ; and while 
he informs the student, to take particular care to also 
entertain him. For these purposes, he has . written his 
lessons in a series of letters. A mode that affords more 
opportunity for plainess, familiarity, instruction andienter* 
tainment, than any other. A mode that was adopted by 
Chesterfield in his celebrated instructions on'^liteness. A 
mode that was adopted by Smollett in many of his novels^ 
which, even at this day, hold a distinguished place in the 

10 PftETACI. 

world of fiction A mode that was adopted by William 
Cobbett, not only in his admirable treatise on English 
Grammar, but in nearly every work that he wrote. 

To Mr. Cobbett, I aclmowledge myself indebted for the 
greater part of the grammatical knowledge which i pos- 
sess. And of the advantages afforded in his work, I have 
not failed to avail myself in the prodnction of this. 

His work, however, though exceedingly meritorious, is 
not fitted for the instruction of the American youth. The 
examples given, if partaking of politics at all, are nearly 
altogether of a monarchical character; upholding men and 
measures', for whom, and for which, freemen have no re- 
gard. They might have answered for the people for whom 
ihey were written ; but are wholly out of place in this 
country. They seem to have been dictated more by spleen, 
than by any desire of inculcating just principles. The 
examples given in the present work, will be found to 
be new, and of an unexceptionable, if not elevating 

^The greatest difficulty experienced in the acquisiton of 
a thorough knowledge of English Grammar, is in the 
cases. These, in this work, have been fully enlarged upon ; 
and so clearly explained, that no one who pays the slight- 
est attention, can fail to thoroughly undwstand them. 

H. A. PUB. 
Philadelphia, Dee. 27, 1840. 




In the fbllowingr Letters you will find very little of 
what is called eloquence; but you will find pleaty of 
what is of fsLT more importance to you, and that is, in- 
struction. To be sure, eloquence is, of the two, a great deal 
the most pleasing ; and when we have the advantage of 
listening to it, nothing, perhaps, with which civilization has 
made us acquainted, is so capable of afiTordiiig intellectual 
enjoyment But this enjoyment is unfortunately of short 
duration. That which produces it, dazzles our sight, be- 
wilders our thoughts, intoxicates our judgment. It is like 
the influence of a chandelier brought within an occupied 
dungeon : The mighty disseminator shines upon the un* 
fortunate inhabitant with such a glare of light, that he 
sees worse than he saw in the darkness. The stimulant is 
two great; owing to the extreme excitability of the visual 
organ. There is sudh a mass of the fluid introduced into 
the expanded pupil, that the retina is completely flooded, 
and, for a time, until some of the excess of light is drawn 
off, unable to perform its natural functions. As this ex. 
cess is diminished, by passing through the conductor of 
the hraiiiy the operated on, begins to see ; when, in an in. 
stant, the Speaker ceases^ the light brought into the dun- 

S\oti is withdrawn, and the poor occupant is lefl in, to 
m, ten times greater darknesi than before the light's 



^ Eloquence produces in us astonishment and gratifica- 
tion. It plays around us with grace and buoyancy ; diffu- 
sing radiance upon, and infiuing animation into, what- 
ever may be within its reach. But after all, what is it? 
what are the things which constitute it ? or by what com- 
bination is it produced ? It is, like light, indescribable. 
Attempt to seize hold of it, and what do you find it? You 
cannot find it at all ; there is no tangibility about it Is 
it a shadow ? no ; it is something more than this. It is 
what principally produces a shadow; and it leaves a 
shadow of what it was, upon our minds ; which we try, 
hy reflection, to magnify into a substance ; but generally 
without success ; for we con scarcely ever collect a suffi- 
cient quantity of the particles of matter spoken of, to be 
able to form them into an organized body ; or even to 
analyze them, so as to form a judgment with regard to 
their properties. 

But, instruction, instead of carrying the listener up to 
some dizzy height, upon which, owing to the strangeness 
of the element, and the intoxication occasioned by the 
rapid ascension, he is unable to keep his feet, and is there- 
fore precipitated headlong to the ievel from which he rose, 
gradually draws him up an endless inclined plane ; firom 
which he can fairly see the country through which he 
passes ; and thereby obtain the information necessary to 
all travellers through lifel Instead of leadings its votory 
through the air, in a phantom's trail, to pluck the colours 
from the rainbow, and therewith gild the flowery artifi- 
cials of his fancy, instruction gently guides him through 
amaranthine bowerp, where he can revel in their bosoms, 
and decorate his brow with branches from the tree of 
knowledge ! Instead of being the meteor which ffleams 
across our vision, as across tho firmament, astounding by 
its grandeur, then fading forever from our view, instruo- 
Tion is the^xcd star, which beams with never dying 
brightness, on the admiring, aspiring beholder. And 
like a solar orb, ita jgrreat possession is its durability. It 
does not become dimmed by time ; nor less admired by 
intimate acquaintance with ; nor destitute of interest, by 
being pondered over. Reflection is its nurse ; examinft- 


lion is its daily nouri9h9Mnt. It will last km;. Ion; after 
every atom of eloquence has been obliterated from the 

The study of English Gfammar, is generally considered 

one of the dryeH affairs inflicted upon youths during their 

school era ; and so indeed, it generally is; but why 7 not 

because the subject is, o£ itself^ destiiute of sap, and 

therefore incajMible of producing any fruit ; but iMcause 

of the bad manner in which the student is taught to 

attempt to ascend the tree in order to obtain the fruit, 

which is foimd to be principally at the top of the main 

part. Instead of making, at the commencement, footholds, 

he is instructed to be continually jumping up and seizing 

hold of the branches. These are insufficient to supi- 

port his weight, and therefore break. In this way, every 

limb is broken off; and no means are then presented 

whereby he can ascend. The old trunk is then left to 

itself; which, owing to the number of pores opened by the 

amputation of ito limbs^ soon withers and bleeds to death { 

and the student finds himself, after all his exertions, still 

upon the level, not an inch higher than at the commence* 

meat ; the shorn, dead trunk presenting to him a horrid 

spectacle of mystery, which nothing on earth could ever 

induce him again to attempt to climb. 

The prooer study of Bnglish Chrammar so far from 
being dry, u one of the most rational enjoyments known 
to us ; one that is highly calculated to rouse the dor- 
mant energies of the student; it requiring continual 
mental effort; unceasing exercise of mind. It is, in 
fact, the spreading of a tkought-produeing-plasier of 
parts upon the extensive grounds of ifitelleei ! It is the 
parent of idea, and greoi causation of reflection; the 
mighty instigator of insurrection in the interior; and 
above all, the unflinching champion of internal improve- 

Whatever is most calculated to cause us to thint, will 
tend most to promote the health of the mind. And 
** whatever amusements have a tendency to dissolve the 
union*' of mind and body, ** or contribute to violate or 


leflsen the aorereifil aathdrity*' €£ the former, ** ought to 
be considered an hostile to the** soimdness and proper 
expansion of the human system. 

And what do you possess when yon have obtained the 
object sought for ? why, something, of which nothing short 
of insanity can ever depriye you. You have a life tenure of 
the property, which no vicissitude of fortune can affect ; 
you have built your house upon a rock, and the blowing 
of the winds, the descending of the rains, and thet;oming 
5>f the floods, are of no avail. 

He who may wish to enter the Garden of Literature, 
will find that English Grammar is the only gate through 
which he can enter. To be sure, he may commence read- 
ing every novel and history, and biography, and work on 
philosophy that shall fall in his way; using every effort 
to progress, and no doubt will, to some extent ; but, then he 
is only realizing the design, suggested by Joshua Rey. 
nolds, who, when asked how he woOld paint foWj^ replied, 
that he would paint a man clambering a high and danger- 
ous wall, and close beside him a large gate standing wide 

Many persons fancy that a better knowledge of correct 
speaking and writing can be obtained by reading the best 
authors, than by acquiring a knowledge of Englieh Gram- 
mar; which, they say, is too complicated and too inconsis- 
tent to be of use to any one. **The best authors!** why, 
how are these persons to judge who are the best authors, 
when they have no knowledge of the contrivance by means 
of which the whole engine of language is worked 7 They 
cannot judge. They must therefore adopt the opinions of 
others; and how servile, how degrading, how totally uobc 
coming a person of spirit is it, that be cannot exercise bis own 
judgment ; that he is forced to take up the decisions which 
Knowledge, or more likely caprice, has induced another to 
come to And besides, how often do we find the decisiona 
of a majority to be erroneous. How oAen do we find that 
the good shall he had^ and tJie had shall he good. How 
probable then, that what the student reads for one of ** the 
best authors** may, in reality, so far as language is con- 
cerned, be one of the worst authors ; and instead of the 

nmuBucrriON* 15 

reading' being a henefity it will be a positiTe injury to him. 
J3e wiU find his taste becoming corrupted, and his judg- 
ment impaired ; and no . means presented for counterac- 
tion. Towards the close of this work, and through other 
parts of it, you will find sufficient to convince 70a of the 
truth of what is here stated. 

It is no Tain glorious boasting to say, that a knowledge 
of English Grammar is more usefiil to a social being, 
than any accomplishment that he could possess. There 
is no situation, in which he will not find it of incalcu- 
lable advantage. It gives him confidence In himself; he 
knows that he is right ; he knows that no one can question 
his language ; and therefore, he feels perfectly at ease 
about the opinions that others may form of him. The 
consciousness that he is correct prevents him firom being 
reluctant to speak for fear of blundering. He has the clear 
day before him, and can therefore see what he is doing. 
The very moment that he hears a person speak, he knows 
what that person's powers of language are. But with the 
person who has no knowledge of grammar, the face of 
matters has another complexion. He iinds himself work- 
ing in the dark ; groping hie way along; stumbling over 
every thing that he comes in contact with. Instead of 
walking along the plain, straight path, which he might 
very well do, if he only knew where it was, he blindly 
wanders along the unpaved zig-zag road, until at last he 
finds himself, stuck fast in the mud ; and obliged to call 
for assistance in order to be extricated. He may some- 
times happen to get into the right path ; but then he is 
unconscious of it ; he merely blunders into it ; his good 
fortune triumphs over his natural perception ; and he would 
not know, if it were not for the sUence preserved by the 
lookers on, that he was not then mid-depth in the mire ! 

How often is a knowledge of grammar, a source of inde- 
soribable felicity to its possessor. How often does it hap- 
pen that the writing, or the speaking of some great repre- 
sentative of emptiness, who has managed, by dome means 
to climb the preeipiee cf fortune, comes under the notice of 
an obscure, but intelligent individual; one, whom the 
mighty man, in the vanity of his riches, has considered it 


dBn%atof7 to hs diinusterfo know; and when it does 
loippen, what nutt be the triumph of the sneered «r» to 
find the/avoured of fortune thus humUed ; thuB depmed 
of all his veaeock feather*^ and ezhlbiied to the world in 
hii naturaierow attire I It Uthe triomph of the unkhowm 
uoN over the sham greatness of iks tetted loz ! 



1. Nearly all writers on Engflish Grammar, saj in the 
oommencement of their books, that '* English Grammar ii 
the art of speaking and writing the English Language 
with propriety." This is correct enough; but it is not as 
plain as it ought to be. In endeavoring to impart instruc- 
tion to the student of any art, as seemingly complicated 
as that of ESnglish Grammar, the plainest language that 
can be used, is immeasurably the best. ^ EngUsh Gram- 
mar is the art of speaking and writing the English Lan- 
guage with propriety ;" raUier say, " English Chrammar t# 
the art which reduce* and subjects the thousands and thow 
sands of words in the English Language td a few rtUes ;• 
the proper understanding of which, is the whole secret of 
speaking and writing correctly** 

2. Grammar is divided into four Branches, which are 
thus nsjued I'—OHhography, Prosody, Etymology^ and 

3. ORTHOGRAPHY means the selection and combi- 
nation of letters, so as to form words ; and is therefore 
Word-making; or what is generally called Spelling, It 
divides the letters of the alphabet into vowels and coruo. 
nants ; the vowels are, a, e, t, o, and « ; to and y are also 
vowels, excepting in cases in which they begin a word or 
a syllable. In such cases they are consonants, 



4. It is folly to attempt to give any rule« with regard to 
Orthography. They cannot be given. The only way that 
a knowledge of this branch of grammar can be obtained, 
is by reading, and close attention to what is read. There 
are, to be sure, a few rules relating to the formation of the 
plural number of the noun, the comparative and superla- 
tive degrees of the adjective, and the past time of the verb, 
(which I will give in the proper places,) but they are small 
mattert ; scarcely meriting the name of rules. 

nothing more. It would be a waste of time to attempt to 
give rules for the acquisition of pronunciation. This 
branch of grammar is the most arbitrary of the four ; de- 
pending, in a great measure upon the judgment of the 
person who may have occasion to use it Those who 
write most upon it, for tho purpose of instructing, difibr 
much more than those who never attempt to instruct. 
One orthoepist, or pronouncer^ pronounces one way, 
another, another way, and a third differs from both. The 
best rule^ or rather the best guide, is the general manner of 
prontuneing. Whatever pronunciation the mass of edu- 
cated citizens give to a word, that pronunciation is to be 
taken as the standard. To prove how futile it would be 
to give rules, I need only mention that pronunciation de. 
pends * to a very great extent, upon locality. The pro- 
nunciation of a PMladelphian differs widely from that of a 
Bostonlan ; and that of a Bostonian, widely from that of a 
native of Savannah ; and that of a native of the latter 
place, widely from that of a native of England, Ireland, 
or Scotland ; and that of each the three last will be found 
to differ more widely from the other two, than will any 
of the former, iVom either of the other two of the same 
country. I might here give you an original definition of 
PRONUNCIATION ; but as it will be better understood by you, 
^en you come to the Etymology of Pronounsi I will 
postpone it till I have occasion to speak of these. 

6. ETYMOLOGY. This is a Branch of much more 
importance than either of the preceding ones. It means 
the derivation^ or pedigree, or relationship of words. It 
teaches the rules which Miry the endings of words. The 


word«tii^, for example, ezpresseB an action wiiich is per- 
fonned by the Toioe ; but in some instances, it would have 
to be nngs^ in others wing, in others 9ung, and in others, 
tinging* These are all derived from the original word, 
8ingj which is the trunk from which all these branekea 
spring. And in this example, we see the rdationskip 
which the words bear to each other. We see that they 
are all members of the same family. Now, Etjrmology 
teaches as to know when it would be correct to say nng, 
when sangj when sung, and when singing, 

7. SYNTAX means nothing more than sentence making; 
that is to say, the arranging oftoords, so as to form readuy 
comprehended discourse, 

. 8. I have now given you a short definition of the 
difrerent Branches. You will need to be told nothing 
more about Orthography and Prosody ; the first meaning 
spelling, and the last pronunciation. If yoU never had 
to write, you would have no use for Orthography ; and if 
you never had to speak, you would have no use for. 
Prosody. But Etymology and Syntax are different matters. 
You cannot u^rt^e anything worthy of the name o£wfiiing 
without a fiill knowledge of both. I will therefore give 
you an account of all that belongs to these two Branches ; 
and I trust that you will pay the strictest attention, and 
give the whole the consideration which its importance 



9. Etymology divides language into several distinct 
sorts of words, called Parts of Speech. These are the 
Article, the Noun, the Pronoun, the Adjective, the Verh^ 
the Adverb, the PreposiUcn^ the Confunction, and the 


hU£tjfit;lMiih \vk^ nine. ^BnXM explain^this matter more 
My» IM m^ gH^ yoaa 4efiiutspn by aniiUitade; foe the 
best way toiUkiistcaJtQ wJiat is tinknown, is to liken it to 
whtttis tM ImowQ. 

10. To define Etymology, then, you may suppose that 
yoi> have mnt 99rt9 nf Beeds. These seeds you must then 
aasort, naming each, telling how one difiers from, and re- 
sembles another, showing what flowers each produces ; 
which the mo«t -beautiful, and which the least so. This is 
Etymology. But to carry out a little farther what I 
hav» here begun, and to make you understand what is of 
importance to you, though it is somewhat out of place 
here, I will tell you, that SYNTAX is the arranging and 
planting, in suitable earth, of all these seeds, so as to 
produce the most beautiful flowers, grouped in the most 
basutiflil manner, and calculated to excite the greatest 
feelings of delight and admiration. 

11. ARTICLES. There are but three in our language; 
and these are, a, an^ and the. Indeed there are but two ; 
because a, and on, are the same word ; the former being 
only an abbreviation or shortenings of the latter, for the 
sake of the sound. 

18. NOUNS. The word Noun, means simply name. All 
persons and all things must have namee^ and Nouns 
are therefore merely the names of persons and things* As 
far as persons, and irrational animals, and inanimate 
things that we can see, go, it is very easy to distinguish 
Nouns ; but there are many Nouns which express what wc 
cannot see, nor hear, nor taste, nor touch, nor smell; 
Noims which we cannot distinguish through the medium 
of any of the senses. For example : Patriotism^ Honesty^ 
Virtue f Prudence, Liberty, Idea, Many grammarians call 
Nouns, Substantives, Now if this definition was correct, 
all the words which I have here named, would not be 
Nouns, because they are ni Substances. This definition is 
therefore imperfect, and almost as bad as none at all, inas- 
much as it tends to perplex and mislead the student, and 
make him dissatisfied with the study, even at the com- 


18. The only eertain rule of asc^ifteh&ing the No«» is 
this : that a word which stands for any thing that h«8 an 
existence is a Ncmn. This rale is in&llihle. The words 
which I have pointed out abodes a^e toe 9uhBiaw;e9, 'hult 
they all have mi existence ; they all exist (though I am 
sorry to say te a very limited ext^it) ia the world ; and 
therefore, the words which re^treseil them are eaJied 

14 PRONOUNS. Words of this part of speech, 
stMid in the place <^ Nouns. Their name is a Latin otne, 
and k means, For names t or Fsr nouns; pro, meaning i2ft 
Lfttitt, for ; and noun, meaning name 4 so that these words 
called Pronouns, are used for, or instead ef Neions. He, 
shsj it, Mm, her, 4hem, who, for ezatnple, are Pronouns. 
Their use is to prevent the z^etiticNa of Nouns, axid (0 
make speaking and writing more rapid, and less «ncnm^ 
bered with words. I will give you an example : 

1^. " A woman met a man and inf(»med him that he 
had better not go home by a certain road:; ^ if he di4, 
he would be attacked by a number of persons 1^0 were 
then lying in wait for him. He thanked her for her kind- 
ness, in thus making known to him his danger. And as 
he had no means* of defending himself ^ he leil his uisttal 
road, and went home by another." 

10. Now if there were no Pronouns, the paragra^ 
would have to be written thus : '* A woman met a mani 
and informed the man, that ^^ man had better not go homb 
by a certain road, for if the man did, the man Would be 
attacked by a number of persons, as a number of persons 
were then lying in wait for the man* The man thanked 
the woman for the woman^s kindness in thus making 
known to the man the man^s danger. And as the man 
had no means of defending the man^s self, the tmn left the 
man's usual road, and went home by another.*' 

17. You recollect that I told you in paragraph 5, that 
I would give you a definition of PronunciatidH. You 
will now better understand w^at I have to say. ** Prd," 
you recollect, means /or, and **&oQa** means name^so that 
to pro-nounesy means to soimd names fsr thlAgs; that is 
to say, to give utterance to names, which are the replre- 
centatives o^ ot which (rtaad fsr tbmga^ 


18. ADJECTIVES. The word Adjective, in its literal 
fleiiM, means tomething added. And words of this part 
of speech are added to Nouns, to express something' re- 
lating to them; which something could not be ezpr^sed 
without the help of Adjectives. For example : You hare 
several kinds of apples ; some are red, some are yellow, 
some are large, and some are small. I will say to yon, 
«< give me an apple." Upon which you will ask, ** which 
kind will you have?** and I will answer, ''I will be 
obliged to you for a Itirge, yelloWt apple." You see that 
the words large, and yeUoit, are here added to the Noun^ 
in order to express something relating to it These words 
are therefore AdjecHvet, 

19. Adjectives always express some property, some 
quality, or some peculiar circumstance belonging to the 
Noun to which they relate. You can easily distinguish 
them from Nouns ; l)ecause if you say man, you have an 
idea of something that has an existence ; you have a com- 
plete understanding. The word is independent of all 
others ; that is, it does not require the help of any other 
word to make sense with it. But if you use an Adjective 
alone, you have no idea of any thing that has an existence; 
for instance : *' large.*' Here you have no idea of any 

" ' ' Yo 

' that exists. You may have, to be sure, an idea of 
the largeness, but then this largeness is a noun. Neither 
is there any sense, nor independence in the word; for it is 
dependent upon something else to follow in order to make 
9ense with it : Thus if you put the word man, after 
l^^ge, the sense is complete ; as, ** a large man.** 

20. VERBS. Grammarians generally say, that " a Verb 
is a word which signifies to do, to he, or to suffer,'''' This 
is what one might call ** a cut and come again** expla. 
nation. Many think that ** brevity is the soul of wit ; ** 
but I think that it is much oftener the cloak of ignorance. 
Persons do not themselves understand what they under- 
take to write about; and therefore they muster up s<»ne- 
thiug that will be ver^ forcible in the sound ; something 
that will be very pomted, and »* pretty,'* as they say ; 
something that will *< tickle the ear,*' without giving a par- 
ticle of information to the understanding; something in 
which the tense wiU be completely swaUowed up in the 


noise that is made ; something under which the po<Nr stu- 
dent must groan and sweat, and at last sink dovm without 
being able to accomplish what he undertook. He how- 
ever, at the same time, declaring his full conviction of the 
beautj and depth of the explanation, if he had onlj pene- 
tration enough to see the bottom of it. And thus convert- 
ing the author's want of capcuiity to write inteUigiliy into 
veiitd profundity ; and giving him credit for thorough 
knowledge of his subject, when, could the artfiil covering 
be removed, nothing but the most naked ignorance would 
be seen! 

21. The word VERB, is derived by the English from 
the French, and by the French from the Latin. It means 
word, and nothing more. You recollect, that Nouns are 
anj things which have an existence. Now it would be 
follj to suppose that these things could have an existence, 
without doing something, or without being in some state 
or situation. Words must therefore be used to express the 
doings of the Nouns, and the states in which they are; and 
VerM are these words. For example : ** George strikes ; 
George sleeps," Here ** strikes" expresses the action of 
the Noun, " George ;" and " sleeps** expresses the state in 
which the same Noun is. Be particular to bear in mind, 
then, that Verbs express the actions, movements and 
states of being of all Nouns, whether animate, or inani- 
mate ; for a clear understanding with regard to this part 
of speech, is of the greatest importance to you. 

22. ADVERBS are called so, because they are added 
to verbs. The use of the words of this Part of Speech, 
will not, however, fully justify the name that has been 
given them. They are frequently added to verbs; but 
tiiey are also frequently used in other ways. You know 
that Verbs express actions, movements, and states of being; 
and Adverbs are frequently used to express the manner of 
these actions, movements, and states of being. For exam- 
ple[: **The man speaks distinctly; he thinks deeply ; he sits 
quietly. ^^ If all Adverbs were used in the same way ,that 
those in this example are, the name that has been given 
to them, would be exceedingly appropriate. But there 
are many Adverbs, which are not added to Verbs ; and 


which therefinre do not es|M?eM the nuumer of actions, 
nuMrements, or states of being. Here is an instance r '* If 
you determine to go there, to-vwrrow, let me know, early, in 
order that I may be/uUy prepared, when you call for me." 
Here are six Adverbs, not one of which expresses the 
maimer of on action ; and none but the ^' fully" any thing 
eonneeted with a Verb. This proves that the name g^yea 
to this Part of Speech, though soitable in many instances, 
is not so in aJl. 

28. However, as the name seems to be as expressive as 
any I could give, and perhaps more so, I shall not attempt 
to alter it^ But you must bear conrtantly in mind, Ihat 
there are Adverbs <^ time^ of place, of extent^ of order, of 
polity, and of manner ; and that their use, their only 
use, is to eiq>re8s something in addition to all that is ex- 
pressed by die Verbs, Adjectives, Noims, and Pronouns. 
In the above sentence, for example, the words there, to- 
morrow, early, is order, fully, and when, expres*some. 
thing in addition to what is expressed by the other Parts 
of Speech. They serve to explain; and explanation is 
the chief object of all Adverbs. 

24. PREPOSITIONS. The name which is given to 
this Part of Speech is derived from two Latin words, pre, 
BBFoRK, and pooitian, place. So that these words called 
Prepoaiiions, are, in most cases, placed before Nouns, and 
Pronouns. For example: "The Andes are the greatest 
chain of mountains in the world. They extend from one 
end of South America to the other ; that is, more than 
four thousand miles. They are four miles in height ; and 
though they are, for the most part, situated in hot lati- 
tudes, their tops have been found, by those who have 
ascended thereto, to be covered with snow in the midst 
of summer. At the base, the climate is that of Congo, 
and at the summit that of Greenland." 

95. You see that in this paragraph the words, in, from, 
of, to, for^ by, with, at, are all placed before Nouns and 
Pronouns ; and are therefore all Prepositions, 

26. CONJUNCTIONS, ar^ used to conjoin or join to^ 
gether words aod parts of sentences, and even whole sen- 
tenees ; thus : ** Qeorge and Thomas must read carefully 


all that they fiad in this book ; fw if they do not, they vill 
not make maoh progreaF. Besides, grammar is a atudy* 
that reqairea reflection to make it pleaaingr. And therefore* 
if they wish to zeeeive instruction, and at the same time 
pleasure, they must not only pay attention, but they must 

27. You see that the word and, conjoins " George and 
I'homas ; '* and by means of ttils junction makes idl the 
succeeding words of the paragraph apply to both. The 
words for and if, the first of which is sometimes a Con- 
junction, though it is oflener a Preposition, serve to connect 

the second member of the sentence with the first. The 
words besides, and and, commencing the secood and third 
sentences, connect these sentences with tbe first; and 
make what is said in them apply to what is said in tb9 
first. The last if performs an office similar to that which 
the first one performs ; the last and joins pleasure to in- 
struction ; and the word but connects the two things which 
must be done ; and at the same time adds force to what is 

28. INTERJECTIONS are used for the purpose, which 
persons ezamining into their name would suppose they 
would be. Inter, in Latin, means between ; and jeetion, 
in the same language, means something thrown. So that 
Interjections are sohethino thrown between the words 
of a sentence. They can scarcely be called words, for 
they have no definite meaning. They are mere sounds. 
They are mostly used to express sorrow, contempt, or sur- 
prise. Tliey are Ah ! Oh ! Alas ! Alack I Bah I Fudge .' 
Fie! Poh! Hist! and some others. They are of very lilUe 
consequence, and it is folly to make a Fart of Speech of 
them ; but yet an no positive harm can result from calling 
them a Part of Speech, I have followed the classification 
of other grammarians. 

39. You have now had a description of all. the Parts of 
Speech. And though that description is necessarily bfiei^ 
you will find it expressive, and capable of affording you, 
with reflection, much of the information which you desire. 
Bat, in order to impress more fully upon your mind, thai 


which it is all-important you should clearly understand, 
I will here give you a quintessential recapitulation of all 
that I have said. 

30. You recollect that there are but two ArticleB ; a or 
an, and tke ; that the Noun is the name of any thing that 
exists ; that the Pronoun stands for the Noun ; that the 
Adjective expresses the quality^ or property^ or appearance 
of the Noun ; that the Verb expresses the action, or move- 
ment, or state of being of the Noun ; that the Adverb 
generally expresses the manner of this action, or movement 
of the Noun ; that the Preposition is placed before the 
Noun, — principally to show the relationship which this 
Noun bears to some other Noun; that the Conjunction 
conjoins the Noun, in most cases, to some other Noun, or 
word ; and that the Interjection, though a mere noise, ex- 
presses the feelings of the Noun ; or the feelings which that 
Noun causes another to experience. 

31. Thus you see that the Noun is the great ruler of all 
the other Parts of Speech; that they are all subject to it ; 
and that they all merely go to express something relating 
to it I Now, this is an important matter; and something 
that you will find in no other work on grammar. 

3i2. Let me now give you a sentence in which you will 
find all the parts of speech fulfilling in succession, their 
different functions: ♦♦ The labouring man toUs inces- 
santly ; btU to him, alas I little of the fruits of his labour 

33. Just lodk at what is said in paragraph 30, and then 
look at the words in Italic letters in paragraph 32, and see 
if you do not find each of these words, performing the 
part that is assigned to it You see that, the is an Article ; 
labouring IB an Adjective; man is a Noun; toils is a Verb; 
incessantly is an Adverb ; but is a Conjunction ; fo is a 
Preposition ; him is a Pronoun ; and alas is an Interjec. 
tion. If you will only read over carefully several times, 
the three last paragraphs, you will be able to distinguish, 
in nearly every instance, the different Parts of Speech. 
And by way oi exercising yourself, just take any sentence 
which you will find iii Sils book, and dissect it, like an 


anatomist would the human frame ; for grammar is the 
amttomif of language. You know the Junction that each- 
member of the language body has to perform ; and you 
know also the name that is given to each member. So 
that all you have to do, will be, to write under each the 
name that you judge to be correct ; and then 'to look into 
the Dictionary for confirmation or disproof of your 
opinion. You will find that each word in the Dictionary 
has the name of the Part of Speech that it belongs to, 
following it Thus if you have the words ** I love 
honesty ;", you will find " 1" fi>llowed hypr. for Pronoun ; 
•*love»' by ». a. for Verb Active; and " honesty" by «. for 

34. Though yon have now been (old sufficient to enable 
you tcr know the differeut Parts of Speech, when nfet with, 
there is yet a great deal more concerning each to learn ; 
and therefore I will make each the subject of an entire 



35. You know that there are but two Articles, A or AN, 
and THE; A becomes AN before a word which begins 
with a vowel ; as, ** an orange, an apple" A also becomes 
AN before a word which begins with a silent A ; that is to 
say, an A, which though used in writing, is not sounded in 
speaking ; as, ** An honest roan ; an heir of misfortune." 
Thfp change of the A to AN, is made dolely on account of 
the sound ; because it would be very inharmonious to say, 
••« oppic, a orange, a honea man, or, a heir of misfortune." 
A is used, when the sense of the sentence requires an Ar- 
ticle, before all words which begin with an A, that is sound, 
ed ; as, a harp, a house, and before all words that begin 
with any other consonant than h; as, a man, a store. 


36, The Article A or Ath i» eiUed 1^ all gframnmrums 
wko >GiiDader it a Part of Speech, the Indefinite Article. 
Ai the tame time, these jsenons gencfally say, that ^ ia 
Article is a word prefixed to Neune to point them nut." 
Now, if the Ariiole be md^vUe in Us si^ifioation, how 
can it " poifn out ike Noum?" Some f rammariaas even say, 
that the ^ Indefinite Article limtts the Noun to one of a 
kind." Ah ! indeed ! Well jasciet us look at the Diotion- 
arj, and see what ind^niie means. Why, we find that 
it means, indetermioate, unlimiUd, So then the unlimitkb 
Article LIMITS the Noun! This is sad work; so sad 
that I deem it proper to chan^ the name of this Article 
from] Indefinite to General ; the latter being much BAore 
easily understood, rooie expressive, and less liable to cause 
such a direct contradiction. I do not, however, altogether 
subscribe to the assertion, " that an Article is a word pre- 
fixed to Nouus to point them out ; because if I did, the name 
which I have just gi^en, would also be liable to objection ; 
for how could a thing be spoken of in a general way, and 
yet pointed out. I subscribe to the assertion so far as it 
relates to the Article THE, but no further. 

37. The General Article is one which is general in its 
application to Names, that is, it never applies to a particu- 
lar Noun, but will apply to any Noun in a general way ; 
as ** a river is frozen." By this we learn that some river is 
frozen, but not what river." As the direct opposite of 
this, the Article TEIE, the name of which, for reasons simi> 
lar to those given in the preceding paragraph, I deem it 
necessary to change from Definite to Particular, determines 
the particular objert spoken of, as, " the river is frozen.'* 
By this we learn, not only that a river is frozen, but we 
also learn the particular river that is firozen; namely, the 
river that is nearest to us ; or the river that we are most 
acquainted with. Take another example : "Geoige hand 
me a book." Here yon perceive that I want a b<K)k ; not 
a particular book, but any book, it is no matter what one. 
But when I say, ** George hand me the book ;" you per- 
ceive that I have reference to some particular book, which 
is in Greorge's possession ; or which is near him ; and which 
he readily understands I mean. 


39. The General Article appliefi to Nouns in the singu- 
lar number only ; for, though it would be correct to say 
a hurse, it would be outrageous to say a horses. The Par. 
ticuiar Article, however applies equally to Nouns in both 
numbers ; as, tre horse, the horses. This Article is used 
with a Noun in the singular number, when by that number, 
we wish to express a whole species or sort ; as, "• the dog 
is a faithful animal;** meaning that **dogs are faithfbl 
animals.** Either of these modes of expression will do ; 
thoagh I think that the first is best. I have not yet told 
you what number means ; but you will find in my next 
Letter that it means one or more. 



39. Just turn back to paragraphs 12, and Id, and read 
carefully what you find in them. Having done this, ybu 
are ready to proceed with me. I need not tell you that a 
Noun is whatever has an existence ; because this you 
already know; but I need tell you, that Nouns have 
branches^ numbers, genders, and eases ; all of which must 
be carefully attended to. 

40. THE BRANCHES are two. They divide Nours 
into Common and Proper. A common Noun is one which 
has the same name that all Nouns of its kind have ; as, 
man, town, river. We know that all men have the 
name of man, all towns, the name of town ; and all rivers, 
the name of river. The names are common to all ; and are 
therefore called Common Nounfi ; that is, eommiin names. 

4L A Proper Noun is the particular name of a person, 
or place, or river, or mountain, or the like. For example : 
« Thomas, Philadelphia, Ohio, Chimboraxo:^ Thomas is 
proper^ because all men have not that name. Philadelphia 
is proper, because all cities have not that name. Ohio is 
propsr, because all rivers have not that name. And Chim- 
Dorazo is proper, because all mountains have not that name 


The name of each is peculiar to itself, and not eomfium to 
all of its kind. Proper Nouns take no Article before then), 
because they do not'require it; the extent of their significa- 
tion being fiilly made known by the Noan itself. In JigU' 
rative language, however, the Article is sometimes used ; 
as, " Lee was a good orator, but could not be placed beside 
the Henries, the Adamses, the Rutledges, ot the Ameses." 
We here mean, could not be placed beside men of the 
class of Henry, Adams, Rutledge, or Ames. And again : 
^* who would not like to be in principle and practice, a 
Washington.** The article is also used before Proper 
Nouns, when, a Common Noun is understood, but left out; 
as, " the Schuylkill ; *' that is, the river Schuylkill ; or when 
this Proper Noun performs the part of an Adjective ; ap, 
" the Schuylkill river." When more than one person of the 
same name is spoken of, the article is also used; as **the 
Adames, the Livingstons." 

42. THE NUAIBERS. There are two numbers; Sin- 
gular, and Plural, The Singular is limited to one object ; 
as, a house, a republic This is the original word ; and 
from this the Plural is generally formed by adding an s ; 
as, house, houses, republic, republics, I^ however, the 
Singular end in ch, sh, s, or x, es must be added in order 
to form the Plural; as, speech,' speeches; dish, dishes; 
glass, glasses ; box, boxe*. And if the Singular end in y, 
without a vowel immediately before the y, the letter 
cU^ges into ies in order to form the Plural ; as, lady, 
ladt>«; beauty, beautt««. But if the terminating y, have a 
vowel immediately before it, then it does not change in 
order to form the Plural; but simply takes an s afler it ; as, 
day, day«; boy, boy». When a Noun ends in /, or /«, the 
Plural is formed by changing the/ or /e into res; as loaf, 
loaoe«; wife, wives; grief, dwaf% relief, and some others, 
are exceptions; these simply take an « to form the Plural. 
Th^ Noun man, and every Noun formed in part of this 
word, such as tooman, fireman, horseman, merely change 
the a into e, to form the Plural. Thus men, women, fire- 
men, horsemen, are the Plurals of these. Ox, and chUd, 
change to oxen and children. Foot becomes feet ; goose 
becomes geese ; tooth becomes teeth) louse and mouse be- 


come lice, and mice ; dU becomes dice. Some Noans are 
used in the Singular number, only ; as toheatt grain, pride^ 
honegttf, nlver, gMt and the like. Other Nouns are used 
in the Plural number, only; as, a$he8ftong9^ »ei$8or9, 
riekee and the like. Some Nouns are the same in both 
numbers ; such as deer, sheaa. 

43. THE GEND£RS. The word gender means a dis- 
tinction with regard to sex« And is accordingly used in 
grammar to distinguish the sexes. All males are of the 
masculine gender, and all females of the feminine. All 
other Nouns are of the neuter gender; and even in speaking 
of living creatures of which we do not know the gender, 
we consider them to be of the neuter. Thus if I see a baby 
sleeping in the cradle, I will say **how tranquilly it 
sleeps ;** though I know that its sex must be either male 
or female. 

44. In figurative language, however, we often speak of 
things destitute of all sexual properties, in the same way 
that we would of living creatures. For example, we say, 
** How glorious b the sun, to*day. His light enlivens the 
drooping spirits of many an afflicted child of earth. His 
rays impart such a genial inflaenoe to all upon which, or 
whom th^y shine, that it is no wonder he was worshipped 
as a god, before philosophy had lifted her magic wand, and 
dissipated the intellectual darkness that overspread the 
world " Again : •• What pleasure is it to gaze upon the 
shining moon. How sel^nely beautiful is her light. W4ien 
the heart is overpowered with grief, or when the soul i» 
sickened with the world's dishonesty, what comfort do her 
beams bestow. She is the world's femily physician. The 
smiles of Aer countenance diffuse restoration from all cares 
and disgusts; though unfortunately the healing influence 
lasts but while the visits continue ; for upon her departure, 
the patient relapses into his former state." 

45. This is a liberty allowed in figurative language; and 
though it is a great advantage to a writer, it should never 
bo abused. It should not be used upon every trifling occa. 
sion ; or as applying to things of little importance; for if 
it be, our language will lose much of its force; and our 
hes and shes, when applied to things of the neuter gender 


will be as tame and feeble aB thoee of the French lan^age 
are. This liberty is taken in order to elevate our style ; 
and to impaTt to inanimate objects the ftinctions of life. 
The sentences in the foregoing paragraph would lose much 
of their ibrce, if it were employed instead of ^e and the, 
and hia and her, 

46. THE CASES. The word Cwe^ in its general ac- 
ceptation, means, 9tate of things, or state of wometking. 
For example : You would say to me, ** the New York 
4>aiiks have resumed specie payments." To which I would 
interrogatively reply, " ah ! is that the case ? " that is to 
say, is that the state of things^ or tfte state of matters f 
As this is a matter of much importance, I will give you a 
further illustration : Suppose that you had been a revolution- 
ary soldier, had never received any recompense for jour 
services, and were now poor. Suppose that you would make 
me^acqaainted with these facts, and ask my assistance to ob- 
tain what was but a trifling reward for the many hardships 
which you had endured. I would say, " indeed venerable 
father, your case, in common with Ibat of many another 
worthy man, whose blood joyously purchased the liberty 
which his degenerate, ungrateful children now possess 
without being able to appreciate its blessings, is an extreme- 
ly hard one. I feel for you more than I can express. 1 
will give yoii all the assistance within my power. I will 
lay^our case before Congress, and I trust that relief will 
speedily follow." 

47. If you reflect a moment, you will perceive that when 
I say "your ease is an extremely hard one," I mean the 
state of things in which you are placed, is an extremely 
hard one. And when I say, " I will lay your case before 
Congress," you perceive that I also mean the state of 
things^ or, the state of matters in which you are placed. 
Or, to make the meaning bear a closer resemblance to the 
wording, I might render the question, " I will lay your 
state of things or state of matters before Congress.*' Bear 
in mind this definition of Case, 

48. Nouns may be in different states with regard to other 
Nouns, or other words. For example, a Noun may be the 
name of a person who kicks a horse ; or of a person whitm 


a horae kieka ; or of a parioo who jwMtMM a bone. And 
these different states, or sitoations, are, for the reasona given 
in the preceding^ parag^raph, called Cases. 

49. In some languages' each Noon has several different 
endings in order to denote the dififerent Cases in which it 
may be. In our language, there is but one different end- 
ing made in order to denote Case ; and of this ending I 
shall speak presently. 

50. The Cases are three. They are called the Nomina* 
tive, the Possessive^ and the Objective. The Nominative Case 
is the one which denotes a person or thing that does some- 
thing,oris something; as, "Oeorgetoorifcs; deorge is honest'* 

51. The Possessive Case is the one which denotes a 
person or thing that possesses some other person or thing ; 
as, ** George's book; the people's cause; the nation's 
freedom! " Here yon see the change in the ending of 
the Noun, concerning which I spoke in the last para- 
graph. You see that each of the Nouns, George, people, 
and nation, has an s, and an apostrophe, or marA; of elision, 
appended to it. This apostrophe is placed between the 
list letter of the Noun, and the 9, for the purpose of dis* 
tingoishing this Case from the plural number. When a 
plural Noun ends in s, another s must not be added to 
form the Possessive Case ; the apostrophe, simply, must 
be added to the s, ending the Noun ; thus : *' nations* free* 
doom ; horses^ feet ; merchants* exchange,''^ But here is 
an important matter to attend to ; which is, that the Posses- 
sive Case may* in every instance, be expressed by a turn of 
the words. Thu9 we may say, ** the book of George ; the 
cause of the people ; (he freedom of the nation*^ It is dis- 
cretionary with a writer, whether he wae the former or the 
latter mode of expression. Perhaps the former is now most 
used ; but the latter is every day advancing, while the 
fbrmer is retrograding in public practice. And I would 
not be at all astonished, if, some day the s and the apostro- 
phe should become obsolete. In the French language, 
there is but one way to express the Possessive Case ; and 
this is by placing the thing possessed before the possessor, 
and making the word of (de) in the same way that we do, 
intervene, thus : " le livre de Jacques ;'* that is, ^* the hook of 
James.*' ** La Plume de Jean ; *« that is, » the pen o/ John.** 

14 K«riiotoor dp vR<»ioims 

5f . The Objective Case is the one which de&otes a person 
or thing that is the object of some other persun or thing's 
action; as, "George strikes T%oma9; George looks at 
Thomas ; Lnxnry corrupts *Ac heart*^ I have a great deal 
to say about this, and the Nominative Case, but do not 
think it proper to say any more in this place. When I 
come to the Syntax of Verbs, I will give you all Ihe in- 
formation necessary. 



53. You recollect what Pronouns are ; you recdiect that 
they are words used for, or in the place of Nouns, to pre- 
vent the disagreeable repetition of the latter. Pronouns 
m divided into four classes. The first class is called the 
Pergonal ; the second, the Relative ; the third, the Demon- 
strtttive, and the fourth, the Indefinite, 

54. In Personal Pronouns there are four things to be 
attended to; which are j?crMw, number, gender ond case. 

55. The persons are three. The Pronoun which staads 
in the place of the Noun that speaks is called ihe first 
l^rMm ; the Pronoun which stands in the place of the 
Noon spoken to, is called the secom person ; the Pronoun 
^ch stands in the place of the Noun spoken of, is called 
theMtrrf person, ^or example: "I will write to you 
about htm. You must reflect here, or else you will find 
yourself m trouble. Suppose I were to say, « I will write 
to him about you,'' in what person would you place him 
and in what person you? Would you not say, "why 
htm must be m the second person, because it represents 
the person spoken to; and you must be in the third person, 
becacee it represents the person spoken ofV' I thmk you 
would; for I recoUect that I was very much puzzled with 
tto matter; and after a good deal of thinking, I came to 
tte conclusion that the grammar which I was studying-. 
Was wrong; and so fiilly was I persuaded of this^ that 1 


wrote a note upon the margin of the g^mmar, atleiii{Ftin^ 
to fhow the faUacy of what was taught. I was ako pin- 
sled <m another account : I perceived, (as you will pre. 
sentiy) by the table of Persooal Pronouns, that him was 
ALWAYS in the third person, and you always in tho«eeend. 
Now how was I to reconcile these contradictions ? I was 
told that the person spoken is was the seeend perscm ; and 
that the person spoken of was the third person ; but I 
afterwards perceived that the perstHi spoken to was in 
the third person! and the person spok£n of in the second 
'person ! I was in a feverish excitement. I thought I 
could fasten it, tight enough upon the author of the gram- 
mar, that he had contradicted himself. But just as I had 
finished my demolishing note, the thought struck me, of, 
totohom, was J speakings when I said, ** I will write to 
him about you;*' aye, sure enough, to whom was I epeak- 
in|f ! My demolisher was in its turn demolished! I per- 
ceived that I was speaking to the person whom I called 
you ; and that notwithstanding I said " to Atm," I was 
speaking of him to the person called you. ^1 will write 
to him (here I speak of the person represented by him) 
about you." (Here I address myself to the person, repre- 
sented by you.") This with me settled the whole matter ; 
and I considered myself very fortunate in having over- 
<!ome what had caused me so much perplexity. 

56. In my last Letter, I did not tell you any thing about 
the person of Nouns', because I considered that &e pre- 
sent Letter would be the best one, in which to give the re- 
quired information. The person that speaks, as I told 
yon, at the beginning of the preceding paragraph, is call- 
ed the first person; the person spoken to, is called tfa^ 
second person; and the person spoken of, is called the 
third person. Now Nouns have no first person ; and for a 
very good reason ; because they never, in the capacity of 
Nouns, speak. If you reflect a moment, yon will see the 
truth of this ; for when I say to you, ♦♦ Thomas is speak, 
ing to the assembly," he is not the person that is speak- 
ing ; that is, is not the person that is speaking to you. 
Jam this person; / am telling you what Thomas is 
doing. / am speaking to you of him ; and therefore he 







36 XTTMoijoaT OF nmioufm. 

i» in the third person, and I am in the Jirtt. Recollect, 
then, that Noons can never be in the Jirst person ; that 
Pronouns alone can be in that person. Nouns may 
be spoken to, and opoken of, but ncyer can be made to speak; 
unless thej, at the eame time, be spoken of, 

57. In my last letter, I told you about the numbers of 
Nouns. The numbers of Pronouns are the same as those 
of Nouns ; Singular and PlurdL But Pronouns vary 
their spelling, much more than Nouns do, to express a dif- 
ference in number, as you will see by the following table 
which exhibits at once, both the numbers and all the 

Singular* Plural. 

Pint person^ 
Second person. 
Third person. 

58. You recollect what I told you about gender in th« 
Letter on the Etymology of Nouns. You recollect that 
gender is **the distinction of sex." The Pronouns of 
the first and second persons, have no changes to express 
gender; but the third person singular has changes for 
this purpose; as, he, she, it. 

59. We now come to the case. The meaning of the 
word case, has already been explained to you in Letter V, 
paragraphs 46, and 47, which I advise you to read again ; 
for though you may fully understand the meaning of the 
word, it will do you no harm to read again those para- 
graphs. Read also paragraphs 48, 49, 50, 51, and 52, 
which show the distinctions between the cases. In Nouns, 
there is but oue of the cases which is expressed by a dif- 
ference in spelling. But with Pronouns, the matter is dif. 
ferent; for they vary greatly to express the different cases 
in which they are ; for example : J, my, me. 

60. The cases of Personal Pronouns are the same as 
those of Nouns : the nominative, the possessive, and the oh. 
jective. In the following table, ^ou will find all these 
Pronouns together with all the cucumstancea of person, 
number, gender, and case. 




First person. 

Seeond Person. 

f Mas. Gen. 
Third! Femin. 
1 Neuter. 






First Person. 

Seoond person. 

S Mas. Gen. 

y. J 


C Our, ) 

) Ours. 3 

C Your. \ 

1 Yours. 5 

J Their, j 

Theirs. > 





61. In this table you perceive that /, Thou, She, We, 
You, and They, have two words to represent the objective 
ease of each ; as My mid Mine, Our and Ours. The 
former word of each of these two examples, is used when 
the thing possessed follows it ; as, " My book ; *' ** Our 
house.*' And the latter word of each of the examples is 
used, when the thing possessed does not follow, as, ** the 
book which is mine ;" ** the house which is ours.** The 
same rules apply to the possessive cases of Thou, She, 
You, and JTiey. 

62. You see that J^ou is given in the table as the 
seeond person, singular ; but this Pronoun is now very- 
little used. It is confined almost entirely to poetry ; to 
which it seems to he much better adapted than to proee. 
It gives dignity to phrases; and therefore suits that kind 
of composition, which is universally known as the most 
dignified. In prose it seems to be entirely too pompous ; 
and he who would use it in such, woiUd certainly be 
charged with affectation, and want of discernment You 
and your ore made use of instead of Thou, and Thy and 
Thee. Thus the second person plural is used for thp 
feoond person singular. 


63. The worda self oad «e2i>e< are sometimes added to 
the Perscmal Pronouns ; as myse/jf, himself ^ ouraeloes ; but 
as these compounded words are liable to no variation that 
can possibly lead to error, it will be useless to do any 
thing more than merely to notice them. 

64. RELATIVE PRONOUNS. These are Who, 
Which, and That, The two latter are always the same, 
through all numbers, genders, persons and cases ; but the 
former changes its endings to express the possessive and 
objective cases ; as, teAo, whose, whom, 

65. These Pronouns are called Relative, because they 
always relate (except when used in an interrogative form, 
and even then, sometimes) to some Noun, or some Per. 
sonat Pronoun, or some combination of words, w^ch itf 
called the antecedent ; (that is, the person or thing before 

foing; ante, meaning before; and cedent meaning ^otng.) 
'or example: ** General Arnold, who became a traitor tor 
his country, was a bold, but an unprincipled man» no 
matter in what station we view him.** You perceive that 
Arnold is the antecedent, and that who relates to him. 
Take another example: "Of the thousands and tens of 
thousands of men who were engaged in the sacred cause 
of American freedom. General Arnold was the only one^ 
whose soul could be corrupted by offers of great wealth ; 
or with whom the love of country was not paramount to 
every thing else." Men is here the antecedent to the who, 
and Arnold, the antecedent to the whose and whom. This 
sentence exhibits all the variations to which the Relative 
Pronouns are liable. 

66. Who, Whose, and Whom, cannot correctly be Re- 
latives to any Nouns or Pronoun?, which do not represent, 
nen, women or children. It would not be correct to say, 
" the horse who won the race ;" although tliis does not 
sound badly ; neither would it be correct to say, ** the horse 
tohose feet were white ;** nor would it do to say, " the horso 
whom I rode." If we wished to speak correctly, we would 
have to say, " the horse which won the race ;** *' the horse, 
the feet of which were white ; ** " the horse which I rode.** 
The Relative Thdt, however, is applied to Nouns of al> 

aorta; as, **th& man that endeavoured to betray hif 
country ; " " the horse that won the race ; '* ** the iioase 
that was burned." 

ft7. Which, as a Relative, is confined to irrational 
creatures ; and in this capacity it may be used indifierentlj^ 
with Thmt; as, *'tbe horse toAicA won the race;" "tbe 
house which was burned." Bear in mind, then, that Wh0 
is applied only to rational creatures ; and Whick only to 
irrational ones ; but that That is applied to both kinds. 

68 I did not place What amongst the -Relatives when I 
onamerated them ; because it is only sometimes a Relative ; 
and because it is of far less importance than the three Rela- 
tives above named. What we call it is of no consequence, 
provided we understand its use.; and as it is subject to no 
variation, to do this is no hard matter. This What^ together 
with Who^ Whose, Whom, and }^(hieJt, are employed ii^ 
aaking questions ; and are, therefore, by some grammarians 
called Interrogative Pronouns. . It is unnecessary to make 
this classification ; because t^se words never entirely loeo 
their relative capacity ; though they do not always relate 
to Nouns or Personal Pronouns, in the way that you have 
seen them. When used in an interrogative manner, they 
mostly precede instead o£ following the Nounf or Personal 
iPronouns ; asj " Who is the man that last passed us V\ 
^^ of whom do you speak?" ^^ whose house is that?" Afl| 
th^ Pronouns here precede tho Nou«a, of courso theji 
cannot be said to have an antecedent* 

69. What sometimes stands for both Noun and Relative 
Pronoun ; as, '* What you say, is true,** that is to say, 
** the Mtngf which y€U say, is true." Indeed, you will 
find What, to have, in all cases, this signification ; &r 
when we do not distinctly hear what is said to us, an^ 
inquiringly say, " what ?" oar full meaning is, tell us thai 
which you have just told us;" or ** repeat to us the tpord^ 
yfhiek you have just spoken." 

called BO, because they demonstrate, or point out, the. 
Nouns, before which they are placed, or for which they 
sometimes stand. They are, Tliis, That^ These, and Thnt* 
This and That apply to siDi^iiiiur Nouns ; These and Thoiei 


to planl ones. A few paragraphs above, yon had T%at av 
a Relative; here yoahave it as a Demonstrative; and yoa 
know that it is sometimes a Conjunetion. Now let me 
give yon an example, in which yon will find it acting in 
these three capacities, ** That book that yon gave roe, is 
so poorly printed, that it can scarcely be read.'* The first 
Tftal is a Demonstrative Pronoun ; the second, a Relative ; 
and the tfcird a Conjonction, which merely serves to con- 
nect the efect of the printing with the eanse of that effect ; 
that is, with the prinfirg itseii; 

71. This word, 7%at, is of great use in our langua^ ; 
and can be placed immediately after another word like 
itself, for several timep, and yet make pcnse, Uumgh des- 
titute of beauty. Thus: •'That that that that man told 
me, was not true«'' * This sentence no doubt presents to 

Jon a queer appearance, and hns a much queerer sound, 
t is exceedingly awkwRid, hut still it is not what you 
may suppose it to be. The same tone of voice should not 
be given to all the ^'thatsr ibr if it be, I know that 
they will be monotonous and senseless. But if a strong 
emphasis be placed on the second and fourth '•thats,** 
and the two others sounded but slightly, thus, **that 
that that tkot man told me," the meaning will be easily 
obtained. The first *'thot** is a Demonstrative Pronoun ; 
the second is a Nonn ; meaning that thirty that s/ory, 
that affair^ ct the like ; the third is a Relative Pronoun, 
and the fourth a Demonstrative. Perhaps the sentence 
quoted, is, however, more ingenious than useful. Indeed 
in my opinion, it is ; and I merely give it to show you 
the various offices which the word 'Mhat** mnj fiilfii. 

7*2. I will conclude this letter with a briefnotice of the 
INDETERMINATE PRONOUNS, which are so called, 
because they express their objects in a general and inde^ 
terminate manner. Most of these Pronouns are also Ad- 
jectives. I'hey must be considered Pronouns, only when 
fiiey are used alone ; that is to say, without Nouns. Thus : 

* In lookins over the Spectator. I find that tbfre is in No. 81, 
a similar eomlHnation of tkatt. The sentence, however, that em> 
braces these words, was written nearly two years ago; and without 
the knowledje of the existence of any simifar one. 


•* one IB often injafled by the duplicity of one pertoK or 
another.^* The first *• one," is a Pronoun ; the lait, an 
Adjective; as is the word * another;" for a Noun it 
understood to followr, though not expressed. These In- 
determinate Pronouns are, one^any^ each, mor«,ffOfiie, oiheft 
«eery, etiAer, many, aU^ nriiher, whatever^ whoever^ and 
some others ; but all of them words subject to no variation 
in orthography, and all of wry common use. 



73. Do you recoNcct what was said cnnceminir Adjee* 
tives ? If you do not, just look back at Letter III, para- 
graphs 18 and 19, and read carefu'ly what is there written. 

74. In English, Af'jectives have no changes to express 
gender, or number, or case, or person ; that is to say, do 
not change their form to a^rree with the gender or 
nombev of the Noun which they express the quality or 
property o€ In 1^'rench they do. Let me giro yon an 
example : 

French, Engliak, 

Le cheval blave^ The wkiu bone. 

Les ctievals blanes^ The white lioraes. 

La vadie 6//r»cA«, The while cow. 

Les vacbes blanehes^ The white cows. 

Here you see, that the French Adjective changes to ex- 
press gender, and also number ; but that ihe English Ad* 
jective is always the same. The latter however, changes 
to express something else : It changes to express degrees 
of comfarison. Adjectives, you know, express the quali- 
ties and properties of Nouns ; and as these qualities and 
properties, may bo possess M in ^ greater degree by one 
person, than by another, the . Adjectives have degrees of 
comparison, or changes in their endings to suit these vary* 
ing circumstances. Thus, a man may be strong, but 
aiMther may be stromger, and a third may be the strongest. 










Adjectives have, thsn, these three degrees. The first de^ ' 
gree is called the Pogitive ; the second, the Comparative ; 
uid the third, the Superlative, In order that you may be 
ahle to form these degrees correctly, I will give you fbur 
rules^ which, if you carefully read, and endeavor to recol* 
lecf, will afford you nearly all the information necessary 
concerning this Part of Speech. 

' 74. First rule. In general, Adjectives, which in their 
primitive state, or Positive degree, end in a consonant, 
ferm their Comparative degree by adding er to the Posi- 
tive; and their Superlative degree by adding est to the 
Positive. For example; 


Small, Smaller, Smallest. 

75. Second Rule, Adjectives which end In #, add in 
formiog their Comparative, only an r,«nd in forming their 
Superlative, only 8t, For example : 


Large, Larger, Largest. 

76. Third Rule. Adjectives which end in d, g^ or t^ 
with a single vowel proofing these consonant^, double 
the final consonant, in forming the Comparative, and 
Superlative. For example : 


Sad, Sadder, Saddest. 

Pit, Fitter, Fittest. 

Btg, Bigger, BJgeest. 

should, however, the d, g, or t, be immediately preceded 
by another consonant, or by more than one vowel, the final 

consonant is not doubled to form the Comparative and 
Superlative. For example : 


77. Fourth Rule, Adjectives which end in y, having a 
consonant ira mediately before it, change the y, into ter, in 
forming the Comparative, and into iest in forming the 
Saperlative. For example : 

BTTMQiioaT cor AiifMmm. O 


Holy, Holier^ Holiest. 

Ugly, Uglier, Ugliest. 

78. Some Adjectives have broken loone from all niles, 
and are now runDing wild, uiuDfloenced by the catlM 
which govesB other Adjectives. For example : 








Modi or Many^ 






79. Such Adjectives as eternal, ^everlaiting, almighty, 
boundless^ aU, eech, every, one, two, . ihree, Jirtt, seewid', 
third, have no degrees of comparison, because their aiguifi» 
oaftton admits of no augmentation. 

£K). All Adjectives ending in most are Superlative, and 
of eonne admit of no change ; as, utmost, uppermost, 

81. fie careful to observe, however, that the degrees ol 
all Adjectives which admit of comparison, may be formed 
by prefixing more and most to the Positive. For exam[^e ; 


Small, More small, Most small. 

Holy, More holy. Most boly. 

When the Positive contains only one syllable, the degrees 
are generally formed according to the four rules which 1 
have given you. When the Positive contains two sylla- 
bles, it is discretionary which method you use in forming 
the degrees. Your ear, is, in this case, the best guide. 
But when the Positive contains more than two 8yUahle8,ihe 
degrees must always be formed by more and moat. It will 
do to say, lovelier, and loveliest, quieter, and quietest, sim^ 
pier, and simplest; but it will never do to say, t:leganttr, 
and elegantest, unfortunater, and unfortunatest. 




81. A Verb is of far more importance for yoa to under- 
stand, than is any other part of speech. Aiid this beinf 
the case, you most now look back at paragraphs 20, and 21, 
and read attenlively all that you find there. Having done 
this, and being consequently able readily to distinguish this 
part of speech, from all others, yoa are prepared to enter 
on an enquiry into the variations to which words of this 
part of speech are liable. 

83. SORTS OF VERBS. These are three; acHve, 
pag§tv€, and neuter. A Verb is active when it expresses 
an action which is performed by the person or thing that 
is the nominative of the sentence ; and when there is at 
the same time, a person or tiling acted upon; as "' Jackson 
defeated Packenham." It is passive when it expresses an 
action which is received or endured, by the person or thing 
tiiai is the nominative of the sentence ; as, *^ Packenham 
was defeated,*^ It is neuter when it expresses simply the 
the state of being, or of existence of the person or thing 
that is the nominative of the Ecntence ; as, *' the firitish 
lie dead upon the banks ;*' or when it expresses au action 
confined to the actor; ap, " they fell like grass before the 
scythe.** In this last instance, though there is an action^ 
IT PASSES ON TO NO OBJECT ; and is tl^refore considered to 
be a neuter Verb. 

83. Reflect well upon these different definitions ; for yoa 
will hereafter find a clear understanding of them to be of 
great importance to you. Hoping that you are now able 
to distinguish the sorts of Verbs, I will next proceed to give 
some information which is applicable to all the sorts; 
There are four things to be considered in a Verb ; and 
these four things are, person^ number^ time and mode, 

84. 1'be PsasoN. You recollect what was said about 
ferson^ in paragraphs 55 and 56. But still you had better 
read these paragraphs again; for this circumstynoe d 
person is of great consequence ; and unless it be attended 
to in writing and speaking, your sentences will be horrible 

EtTMOLdQT or WkM, 15 

65. Toa know what the nomiDative of a lontonce 10 ; 
yoQ know that it is the person or thingr that does some* 
thingr, or t«, aomething-. Well, then, the Verb must agrtt 
in person with the nominative which it is used to ezpreaa 
the action^ ox state of being of; as, "• I lave / be 2o«ea.** 
To say, *' I loves ;" would be wron v, because / is the FnsT 
person, and loves is the third person ; and therefore there 
is no agreement between the Verb and its nominative. 
To say, ^ he love" would olso be wrong-; because Ae iathe 
THIRD person, and love is the first. 

85. In the Letter on the Etymology of Pronouns, I told 
you that there were three persons. Verbs have also three 
persons ; but they do not vary in their spelling except to ex- 
press the third person singvlar. Thus we say, '* I love, you 
love, they lovp, we love;" and only **hr, she or it 2ooes." When 
I say that Vei bs do not vary in their spt lling except to ex- 
press the third person singular, I must mention as an excep-> 
tion to thif, the Verb to be. This Verb, as you will here- 
after see, changes its form very often to suit itself to its 
nominative case. 

87. It is unnecessary for me to fell you what the 
Numbers are; for you know, or ought to know, as well as 
I can tell you, that there can be bat two ; singular and 
pluraL Verbs vary their endings but once to express num« 
ber; and this variation is in the singular. When you 
come to the Syntax of Verb?, this will be fully explained. 

88. Next come the Times; of which there are, the 
present, the past and the future. These three distinctions 
are made, as their names imply, to particularise the time of 
the action or state of being expressed by the Verb. For 
example : " The President speaks to the people ; the Presi- 
dent spoke to the people ; the President wUl sptak to the 

89. We now cosne to the Modes. The word mode means 
manner. Tlius we say, ** let us do it after that mode ;" 
that is to say, after that manner. And again we say, 
**that is a strange mode of proceeding;" meaning, that 
*' that is a strange manner of proceeding." M^es of 
Verbs, then, are the different manners of expressing an 
action, or a state of being ; which modes or manners, are 


Mmetimes poniive, sometimeB eoniUioMli and Botnetimes 
htdettrmimate ; and there are changf or wrMfion* in the 
Verb or in the word* called tigns which are ated along 
with the Verb, to express this difference in manner and 
seme. Let me give you an example : ^* He sfeakB well 
to^ay/' '* If he wptak as well to-morrow, he will chain 
the attention of the house.'* You see that the Verb ia in 
one sentence, Bpeaka, and in the other §peak. The reason 
of this, is, that in the first what is spoken q€, is stated in a 
positive manner ; and in the second, what is spoken o^ is 
atated in a conditional manner In the French Ungaage, 
the Verb changes its form very often to suit the different 
modes in which it may be. In onr language, it changes 
but once on account of mode; and this unfrequency of 
ehange, is caused by our using little words called 9ign$ 
along with the Verb ; and which fully answer the purpcMes 
that changes of the Verb do in the French language. As 
an illustration of what you have just been told, I will g\v9 
you an example of the difference between the formation of 
modes in the French language, and the formation of modes 
in the English. I will give you the French Verb AUer, 
(to go.) 


He goe$^ II va, 

Hemayftf Ilnttfo, 

De should jv, 11 s'voti. 

Ue might go^ U aU&i, 

Here is but one change in English on account of mode ; 
namely, " goes^ In the other three mstances you see 
the Verb is the same ; but in French va is one change on 
account of mode, aille is another, itoit is another, and 
allot is another. 

90. Let me now give you the names of the modes : They 
are the /^ntftoe, the Indicative^ the Subjunctive and the 

91. The Infinitive mode is the Verb in itsprimitire state; 
as, to sing. This mode ia called the Infinitive, because 
it is without hound or limit ; it is infinitQ in its application 
to persons and things. In unng it, we merely express the 

tTTMuIXKir or TKKftS. 4t 

ftd of waging, without any refetence to person, or number, 
or time. The word (o, is, in ftct, a pert of the Verb. 7b, 
is, when used alone, a Prepftsititm ; but when it is plaeed 
before a word signifying action, or state of being, it must 
be considered as inseparable ftom, and fis forminj^ part of 
that word. The French have no need to use this little 
word in the way that we do. They make one word answer 
the purpose of our two. They say, rtre, (to read) Hn 
(to «ay,) vendre, (to sell) aimtr, (to love.) 

93. The Indicative Mode is used to indieate, or state ah 
action, or a state of being, in a positive manner. We 
wish tiy it to express whatever meaning the Verb is capa- 
ble of conveying, without any condition or dependtncy. 
Thus: •'He walks, he runs." 

93. The Subjuneti^ Mode is so called, because, when 
used,, whatever is expressed by the Verb, is expressed ih 
a eoftditional manner. There is always something sub- 
joined, to make one circumstance dependent, on another. 
For example : »» If he walk fast he will overtake them.'* 
You see that here the Verb is walk, while in the Indicative 
it is walks. The reason of this is, that in the Subjunctive, 
there is a sign understood ; as, ** if he walk," that is, " if 
he should walk ;" but in the Indicative there is no such 
sign understood. There is no doubtfulness about the 
action, and therefore we could not use ai^ign. . Recollect, 
then, that in the Subjimdive there is always an uncer- 
tainty with regard to what is mentioned ; and consequent- 
ly, that there must always be one of the signs, may, misht, 
could, would, should, can, expressed or understood. But 
recollect that in the Indicative there is no uncertainty ; 
and consequenly that there can be no sign either expressed 
or understood. 

94. The Imperative Mode is of very little consequence. 
It is the one in which the Verb is used in a commandite, 
intreating, permitting form : a«, *' be gone ; have mercy on 
me; depart, if thou wilt." All that belongs to this Mode 
is very ea^ to understand ; and therefore I wiH not say 
any thing mrther about it, except to show it in connection 
with the other Modes. 

48 leryMOLoajr or tv&bs. 

9jk There are two PartkipUs in our langfuage, whieh 
are much used ; and tou should consequently pay much 
attention to them. They are called the Aclwe^ and the 
Pa$nve. The Active Participle, always ends in ing ; 
and the Passive generally in td. They are called Parti- 
eiples, because they participAiTE in the powers, or partake 
of the character of a Noun, and an Adjective, as well as 
a Verb; that is to say, each one may be sometimes a Noun, 
sometimes an Adjective, and sometimes a Verb. Let me 
give you an instance of this : *' The lady*s tinging is ex- 
cellent ; she is, indeed, a singinff lady ; she is singing a 
simple melody," I need scarcely teU you that the first 
** singing,'* is a Noun, the second an Adjective, and the 
third, a Verb. Again : '* I turned that handle ; that is a 
turned handle.** The first '« turned * is a Veib, and the 
second an Adjective. 

96. I will now give you the eonjvgalion of a Verb ; 
that is to say, the joining together of all the variations to 
which Verbs are liable : 


To Improve, 

SimuLAK. Plural. 

VrASAnt { ^^ Person. I imprnve, We improve. 

"•Kmp 1 ^ Person. Thou improvest, You improve. 

lime. ^^ Person. He, she, or it improves. They improve. 

Pilar ( 1^ Person. I Improved. We improved. 

Tliiie i ^ Person. Thou Improvedst, You improved. 

Aiiiio. ^2^ Person. He, she, or it improved. They improved. 

Ilst Person. I will or shall improve, We will or sfaal' 
2d Person. Thou wilt or shalt improve. Yon wiu or stall 
3d Person. He, she, or it will or They will or 

shall improve. shall improve. 


Ainm { If limprov^iorinay, might, could, would, or should, improve. 

ilr i '^ *****" improve, or may, improve. 

*"• ( If he she, or it improve, or may, improve. 

ilf we improve, or may,-- — improve- 
If you improve, or may, improve. 

If they improve, or may, improve. 



Let me imQrove, Let us improve, 

improve thott, Improve yoot 

Let biffl improve, lict tbem improve. 


Jietivt. Improving. 

J*asaroe» Improved. 

97. The past time of any Verb, may, in addition, to the 
manner of formation here given, be formed by placing tbe 
word did before the present time ; as, I did improve, 
instead of I improved. The <t, in the second person 
singular must, however, he taken from the Verb and ap- 
pended to the ** did ;*' thus : ** thou didst improve.** 

98. It is common with grammarians to make a past 
time in the Subjunctive Mode. But this is ^together 
useless, as the past time of the Subjunctive, in all Verbs 
except the Verb to 6e, is the same as the past time of the 
Indicative, with the V'i^hig diiference of if, or though, or 
a word of like import, being used with the Subjunctive. 

99. The Imperative Mode is a very small matter, indeed. 
You see that in the first and third persons singular, and 
in the same persons, plural, the objective case of Pronouns 
is used ir stead of the nominaUioe. The reason of this is, 
the word let precedes the Pronoun. As to the second 
person, where thou, and you are placed after the Verb, it 
is very seldom that thou and you are used. The Virb 
alone, is used, and this answers every purpose. 

100. In looking over the work of Mr. Murray upon the 
subject of grammar, and also over the works of several 
persons upon the same subject, I fl^ that they all make 
sach a formidable array of modes and times, that it is no 
wonder half of those who commence the study of gram, 
mar, give it up in disgust, and declare that the time spent 
in this study, is very foolishly spent I find that all these 
authors, in addition to giving all the modes which have 
already been given to you, must have a Potential Mode ! 
And then in addition to having all the times which yon 
have just seen, they must have a perfect and a pluperfect 
time, and a second future time ; and that too, in all the 



modes except the iv^finitive, and the imperative. This, I 
firmly belieye, is all done for the purpose of deception. 
It is done to deceive persons into the notion that the art 
of grammar is a very intricate one ; and that as a conse- 
quence, those who have written upon it, must have been 
very uncommon men, or they never could have mastered 
it. These writers here praise themselves at the expense of 
the simplicity of their students. The latter think that all 
these times and modes are absolutely necessary ; and that 
the author whom they study, is a man of great discrimi- 
nation; otherwise he would not here have laid the matter so 
systematically before their eyes. Though, to be sure, it 
seems to be a little incomprehensible even after all the eluci-* 
dation given. I positively know it to be a faet, that the 
placing of so many times and so many modes in the most 
of grammar books, deters hundreds of persons firom ever 
commencing the study. Why, bless me ! when I turn over 
the pages of these productions, I find the greatest diffi- 
culty to persuade myself that I am not gazing on a 
bank note list, or a weekly price current I There is so 
much ** rule and figure work" about them, that if the 
printers do not charge acoordingiy, they are not paid for 
their labour. 

lOL There can be no use in making these distinctions 
of time and mode, unless the Verb differs in each. Now , 
the Verb does not differ ; not even in one instance. What- 
ever difference there is in the wording, is made by the 
introduction of some of the words, may, might, can, 
could^ would, should; or by the introduction of some part 
of the Verb to have. Whatever form the Verb has in its 
third person, singulai^it will have in the other number, or 
in either of the other persons, in the Potential mode, or in 
any of the objected-to times. How silly it is, then, to make 
a distinction where there is no difference. Need I now 
tell you, that there are b«t three times; the present, the 
nasi, and the future! No, I need not ; for even if what I 
have said, did net convince you of this fact, your own 
judgment would dictate that thet-e can be no more than 


103. Verbs are divided into regular and imreguUr ones. 
A regular Verb is one which baa its past time and passive 
participle formed by tiie addition of eJ or <l to its ending ; 
as, *«I respect^ I retpected ; I /oce, I Uned.^^ If yoo'wiU 
now just look back at the conjugation of the Verb to isu 
provef you. will find that it is a regular Verb. A vast 
majority of the Verbs in our language are regular. And 
we might ferventiy wish that all were so. But since they 
are not, we myst only make the best of the matter, and 
determine to preserve as much as we can, in onr speaking 
and writing, their regularity. In this manner of form- 
ing regular Verbs, however, there are a few variations, 
which I will here make you acquainted with, though they 
are not of much consequence, and are connected merely 
with the spelling of words ; they have no e£fect whatever, 
upon the sound of words. But let me first inform you of 
the reason that d only, is used to form the past time, and 
passive participle. It is this : If the Infinitive mode of 
a regular Verb end in e, then c2, only, must be added to 
form the past time and passive participle; as, to love, I 
loved. Moreover, in every such case, dst, and not edst, 
must be placed after thou, in the second person singular ; 
as, to love, thou loveJs^ Havin^r now explained this 
matter, let me notice the few variations of which I spoke 
above. I. When the Infinite ends in y, with a ognsonant 
immediately before the y, the past time and the passive 
participle, are formed by using an i instead of the y; as, to 
defy, he defied ; to supply, he supplied. But if the y, be 
immediately preceded by a vowel, ed is added to the y, in 
the usual manner; as, to display, he displayed/. II. When 
the Infinltivte ends in a single eonsottant, which has a single 
vowel immediately before it, the final consonant is doulmd 
in forming the past time and passive participle ; as, to beg, 
I begged; to hop, I have hopped. This rule, however, 
holds ffood, only with regard to Verbs o£ one syllable ; 
for if the infinitive be composed of more than one syllable, 
the consonant is not doubled, unless the accent be on the 
last syllable; and the accent means the main force, or 
weight or sound of the vcHce in pronouncing the word. 


For example, in the Verb to •q/Keii, the axscent is on the 
fint syllaUe ; and therefore we write §oJtened. But when 
we haye occasion to use any Verb in which the accent is 
on the lagt syllaUe, such as to repel^ to deter^ we write 
r^lUd^ deterred, 

103;. While I am on the subject of irre^ularitieB^ I 
maj as weU mention a few more. These are m the active 
participle, and the third person singular of the Indicative. 
The active parHciple is always formed by adding ing to 
the infinitive ; as, to A«ar, hearing; tofeAtfedirig, But 
if the infinitive end in e, that f, is dropped in forming 
the active participle; as, to love, loving. This is bo» 
however, only when the infinitive ends in a &ingle b; for if 
there be a double b the general rule is followed; as, to see, 
Sfletng. The Verb to 6«, also follows the general rule, and 
takes ing after the 6 ; as, to be, being. When the infinitive 
ends in ie, these letters are changed . into y, in forminje^ 
the active participle ; as, to die, dying. When the infini. 
tive ends in a consonant which has a single vowel imme- 
diately before it, the ending consonant is doubled in form- 
ing the active participle; as, to beg, begging; to hop, 
hopping. This rule, however, like the one relating to the 
past time, holds good only with regard to Verbs of one 
syllable ; for if the infinitive have more than one syllable, 
the consonant is not doubled, unless the accent be on the 
last syllable; as, to soften softening; to repely repelling. 
In the last instance, you see that the accent is on the last 
syllable ; and therefore the ending consonant is doubled. 
104. Now let me mention the irrc^nlarities which the third 
person singular of the indicative, is subject to. You will 
find these directions very similar to those which refer to 
the fwming of the plural number of Nouns in paragraph 
42. The general rule of forming the third person singu- 
lar of ibein dicative, is, to add an s to the infinitive ; as, 
to hear, he hears. But if the infinitive end in ^, s, x, or Zf 
then ss must be added ; as, to wish, he wishes ; to erosB^ 
he crosses ; to coax, he coaxes ; to buz, it buzzes* When 
the infinitive ends in y which has a consonant immediate- 
ly befi)re it, that y is changed into ie ; as, ta deny, he 
denies. But if the ending y bo not immediately preceded 

STTiroiJoaT or vuis. 53 

by a consonant, that is, he preceded by a votoeJ, the Verb 
fellows the general rule, and takes simply an « ; as, to 
repay f he repays. These two last rules apply also to the 
second person singular; as, ^io deny^ thou deuiett; to 
repay, thou repayest,** 

105. I am now done with these small inegularitieB ; 
and I am not sorry for it ; for I know that they present 
nothing intereptlng to you. I would not advise you to 
commit the rules relating to them to memory ; for I do 
not like much memory work. When the memory has 
much to do, the judgment has very little. You had better 
read the rules over a few times, and if this do not give 
you all the information required, you can at any time in 
which you may be at a loss, refer to what is here said. 

106. These irregularities, though neeessary to be 
attended to, do not prevent us from considering the* Verbs 
in which they occur, as being regular ; for grammarians 
consider every Verb that ends its past time and passive 
participle in ed, as regular ; and every one that does not 
end its past time, and passive participle in ed^ as irregtdar. 
Recollect this. 

107. There are many irregular Verbs in our language; 
that is to say, many Verbs which do not end their past 
time, and passive participle in ed. And as they are of 
much importance, I will here give you a complete list. In 
order that you may fully understand the proper use of 
each of these Verbs, and to accustom your ear to the 
sound, I will use the first person singular of the Pro* 
nouns, before the past time ; and the same person, together 
with part of the Verb to have, before the participle. The 
reason of my using to have, you will understand, when 
you come to read the Letter on the Syntax of Verbs : 





to abide, 
to arise, 
to be, 
to beat, 
to beat, 
to become, 
to befall, 
to beget, 
to bebold, 
to bend, 
to beseech, 
to bid, 
to bind, 
to bite, 
to bleeds 
to break, 
to breed, 
to bring, 
to buy, 
to cast, 
to catch, 
to choose, 
to cleave, 
to clings 
to come, 
to cost, 
to cut, 
to do, 
to drink, 
to drive, 
to eat, 
to fall, 
to feed, 
to feel, 
to fight, 


I abode, 
I arose, 
I was, 
I bore, 
I beat, 
I became. 
It befeU, 
I begot, 
I began, 
I beheld, 
I bent, 
I besought, 
I bade, 
I bound, 
I bit, 
I bled, 
I broke, 
I bred, 
I brought, 
I bought, 
I cast, 
I caught, 
I chose, 
I clove, 
I clung, 
I came, 
J cost, 
I did, 
I drank, 
I drove. ; 
I ate, . 
I fell, 
I fed, 
I felt, 
I fought, 
I found, 


I have abode. 
I have arisen. 
I have been. 
I have borne. 
I have b^ten. 
I have become. 
It has befallen. 
I have begotten. 
I have begun.. 
I have beheld. 
I have bent. 
I have besought 
I have bidden. 
I have bound. 
I have bitten. 
I have bled* 
I have broken. 
I have bred. 
I have brought 
I have bought 
I have cast. 
I have caught 
I have chosen.. 
I have cloven. 
I have clung. 
I have come. 
I have cost. 
I have cut. 
I have done.. 
I have drunk. 
I have driven. 
I have eaten. 
I have fallen. 
I have fed. 
I have felt. 
I have fought. 
I have found.. 




to flee, 
to fly, 
to forbear, 
to forbid, 
to forget, 
to forgive, 
to forsake, 
to freeze, 
to get, 
to give, 
to go, 
to ffrind, 
to have, 
to hear, 
to hide, 
to hit, 
to hold, 
to hurt, 
to keep, 
to know, 
to lay, 
to lead, 
to leave, 
to lend, 
to let, 
to lie, 
to lone, 
to make, 
to mean, 
to meet, 
to overcome, 
to overdo, 
to pay, 
to* read, 
to rend, 
to ride, 
to ring, 
to riie, 


I fled, 
I flung, 
I flew, 
I forbore, 
I forbade, 
I forgot, 
I forgave, 
I forsook, 
I froze, 
I got, 
I gave, 
I went, 
I gromid, 
I had, 
I heard, 
I hid, 
I hit, 
I held, 
I hurt, 
I kept, 
I knew, 
I lent, 
I let. 
I made, 
I meant, 
I met, 
I overcame, 
I overdid, 
I paid, 
I read, 
I rent, 
I rode, 
I rang, 
I rote. 

have* fled, 
have flnng. 
have flown, 
have forborne, 
have forbidden, 
have forgotten, 
have forgiven, 
have forsaken, 
have frozen, 
have gotten, 
have given, 
have gone, 
have flrround. 
have had. 
have heard, 
have hidden, 
have hit 
have held, 
have hurt, 
have kept, 
have known, 
have laid, 
have led. 
have left, 
have lent, 
have let. 
have Iain, 
have lost 
have made, 
have meant 
have met 
have overcome, 
have overdone, 
have paid, 
have put 
have read, 
have rent 
have ridden, 
have rung, 
have risen. 




to ran, 
to Bay, 
to see, 
to seek, 
to sell, 
to send, 
to set, 
to shake, 
to sheer, 
to shed, 
to show, 
to shred, 
to shrink, 
to shoe, 
to shoot, 
to abut, 
to singr, 
to sink, 
to sit, 
to slay, 
to sleep, 
to slide, 
to slit, 
to smite, 
to speak, 
to speed, 
to spend, 
to spin, 
to spit, 
to spread, 
to spring, 
to stand, 
to steal, 
to stick, 
to stink, 
to strike, 
to swear, 
to take, 
to teach, 
to tear, 


I said, 
I saw, 
I sought, 
I sent, 
I set, 
I shook, 
I sheared, 
I showed, 
I shred, 
I shrank, 
I shod, 
I shot, 
I shut, 
I sang, 
I sank, 
I sat, 
I slew, 
I slept, 
I slid, 
I slit, 
I smote, 
I spoke, 
I sped, 
I spent, 
I span, 
I spit, 
I spread, 
I sprang, 
I stood, 
I stuck, 
I stunk, 
I struck, 
X swore, 
I took, 
I taught, 


[ have run. 
[ have said. 
[ hare seen. 
[ have sought. 
[ have sold. 
; have sent. 
; have set. 
[ have shaken. 
[ have shorn. 

have shed. 
[ have shown. 
[ have shred* 
[ have shrunk. 
; have shod. 
; have shot 
: have shut 
[ have sung. 
'. have sunk. 
; have sitten . 
[ have slain. 
[ have slept 
' have slidden. 
I have slit. 
'. have smitten. 
! have spoken. 
L have sped, 
[have spent. 
' have spun. 
[ have spitten. 
[ have spread. 
' have sprung. 
[ have stood. 
[ have stolen. 
L have stuck. 
L have stunk. 
' have stricken. 

have sworn. 
' have taken. 
[ have taught 
[ have torn« 

to tell, 
to think, 
to tread, 
to understand, 
to weUr, 

I told, 
I thought, 
I trod, 

I UDderatood, 
I wore. 

to win, 
to wind, 
to write, 

I won, 
I wound, 
I wrote. 



I have told. 
I have thoag^ht 
I have trodden. 
I have understood. 
I have worn. 
I have won. 
I have wound. 
I have written. 

108. In most of the grammar books now in use, you 
will find a number of Verbs placed in the list of irregu- 
lars, which are not placed in the list which you have just 
read. But this number, of which to dare, to die, to burst, 
to burn, to dream, form a part, are all regular ; and to place 
them in the list of irregulars, only adds to the labour of 
the student, without any advantage to him. Whenever a 
Verb can be made regular, without being highly disagreea- 
able to the ear, it should be ; for there is nothing like 
uniformity and regularity in language. Nothing like 
reducing matters to a system, in which, when you know 
how to form the variations of one Verb, you know how to 
form the variations of all. In the above list, is placed 
every Verb which is really irregular. Indeed, there are 
some even in this, which may be used in the regular form; 
such as, to shoe, to show, to shear, 

109. You will have to read this list over several times, 
so that you may be able readily to tell the past time, and 
passive participle of each Verb. There are a great many 
errors committed in writing and speaking, for want of 
attention to this matter. And this being the case, I hope 
you will see the necessity of close application, to prevent 
yourself from being numbered amongst the erring. 

110. AUXILIARY VERBS. These are so called, be- 
cause they help other Verbs to express the meaning that 
is desired to be expressed. They are, to have, and to be, 
and do, and let. The two latter are of trifling importance, 
compared with the former. The auxiliary let is osed in 
the present time, and only in the imperative mode ; as, 
*^let me write ; let them write ; let her write." This let 
is the past time and passive participle of the Verb, to let. 
Bo not confound the two. However, this let, a? I said 
l^efore, is not of much importance. 

58 mrMouwT or yiebs. 

111. The auxiliary do^ becomes in its past time did; 
and is part of the Verb to do, which in its past time is 
did, and in its passiFC participle, done. When used in 
the sense of to do, it is not an auxiliary, but a principal 
Verb. It then has the same meaning that to exeetUe, or 
to perform has ; as, ^ I do the job ;" that is, I txetute the 
job ; or I perform the job. As an auxiliary or aooioiani. 
It is used to express in a forcible manner, whatever is 
affirmed or denied. Suppose a person would accuse yon 
of not attending to your business ; would you reply by 
saying, ** I attend to my business V no, no ; you would 
endeavor to hunt up some word, or words, that would 
enable you to assert what you wished to, in a much 
stronger manner. You would say, ^1 do attend to my 
business." And if the person that made the charge against 
you, were to deny what you asserted, he would say, " you 
do not attend to your business," instead of saying, *' you 
attend not to your business." In addition to the strength 
that this auxiliary gives to a sentence, you see it also 
marks the time ; as, ** I do attend to my business,'* means, 
I attend to it, now. And, ** I did attend to my business," 
means, I attended to it, and of course, at a time past, 1 
hope you fully understand this difference between the 
auxiliary and the principal Verb. Do and did, as auxU- 
iariea, are always used along with other Verbs; but as 
principals ^'are used alone ; as, " I do my own writing ;" 
that is, I execute or perform my own writing. •* I do do 
my own writing;" that is, I do execute, or perform my 
own writing. The first do is an auxiliary, and the second 
a principal Verb. 

112. We now come to the two great auxiliaries; to hau 
and to he. These Verbs are of far more importance than 
any other two, in our language. They are principals, as 
well as auxiliaries. The Verb to have signifies possession ; 
as, •• I have a book ;" that is, I possess a book« It carries 
this idea of possession with it, whether used as a principal 
Verb, or as an auxiliary. Though when used as a princi- 
pal Verb, the possession is a great deal more strongly marked. 
•• I have a fever ;" I nossess a fever ; " I have a liking 
ftr him ;" I possess a liking for him. Here have expresses 
exactly the same meaning that possess does ; and is far 


more euphoneouB, and better salted to the ffenius of our 
langruage. As an aoxiliaxy, this Verb is indispensably 
necessary in forming what are call the compound timet of 
other Verbs ; that is, times which are formed by themiion 
of two or more Verbs. If I wished to tell you that I had 
just finished a letter to a friend, what do you think I would 
say ? Would I say, I wrote a letter to him, I torite a let- 
ter, or I will write a letter to him ? No, indeed ; none of 
these times would do. I would be obliged to apply for 
aatistarue to the auxiliary have^ and say, I have written a 
letter to him. In the past time, I * had written, and in the 
future, I ehaU have written ; and in the subjunctiYe mode, 
I may, might, eoM, wouM, or thould have written. When 
the compound times are used, the speaker always has re- 
ference to w/iat is, in some measure, a particular time. 
When I say, ** I wrote," why, my act of writing may have 
been done yesterday, or it may have been done ten years 
ago ; there is no time more than that it is past, intimated. 
But when I say, " I have written," the expression carries 
along with it, a reference to the present time, as well as 
the past ** I have written a letter," that is, / have juet 
now finished a letter. I could not say " I haT^ written a 
letter yesterday ;** I must say, " I wrote a letter yesterday." 
I might say, " I have written a letter this morning ;" but 
then the time in which I speak must be the mommg. I 
could not say in the afternoon, I have written a letter, 
this morning ; no, no; this would not be English. In the 
past and future, the same reference is made to a particular 
time : ^ I had written a letter ;" when ? why, at the time 
that something else was done, or at the time that some- 
thing else occurred. " I had written a letter when the 
news came ;" ** I had written a letter when I received his 
note." In the future, ^ I shall have written a letter 7" 
when ? why, before, or at a time, when something else is 
done. '* I will have written a letter before he arrives ;" 
•• I will have written a letter by the time that he calls 
for me." 

113. The three different examples that I have given you 
of these compound times, would, by almost all grammarians, 
be considered as coming within the sphere of what they 


cafl tiifi Per&ct Time, the Pluperfect Tiiue, and (he Seoond 
Futare Time. These timeB might, with much more |iio- 
priety, be called the Present Compound Time, the Put 
CuiBB^NMmd Time, and the Fatore Ck>mpoimd Time. Bot 
even thia clafuification is umieceBsary; and not only un- 
neeefl8ary,but mischieyoaB; inasmuch as it tends to d^er 
any person who may look into a grrammar from com- 
meneing^ the reading thereof^ when he sees the great nmn. 
her ^<^ distinctions that are made, and the consequent 
memory work that will be required. This shoit sig'iited 
work, is moreover, positively injurious to the minds of 
the pupils; who, afler much time spent, get their heads 
611ed with senseless, or, at least, never explained names. 
All these they get by rote, and without any effort of mind. 
Onoe in the practice of chaunting over the reading of their 
studies, with this total disregard of the meaning which the 
words are intended to convey, they soon extend the practice, 
until finally the whole book is studied in the way that the 
conjugations and the names are; and as a consequence (^ 
this, aller they have repeated lesson after lesson, and read 
and re-read, and read again the grammar, they possess just 
about as much really usefUli grammatical knowledge, as 
they did before they ever looked into a book. 

114. All the differences that exist between these com- 
pound times and the simple times, are made by the intro- 
duction of the Verb to have ; and if you fully understand 
the conjugation of this Verb (which will presently be given) 
you will never err. 

115. 7b be, when used as a principal Verb, or as an 
auxiliary, signifies existence. 7b ^ in Baltimore, to be 
at home, to be honest, to be moral, mean, to exist io Balti- 
more, at home, in honesty, in morality. In forming its 
compound times, this Verb requires the help of the Verb ta 
have ; as, he has been^ he had been, he shall have been. As 
an auxiliary it is used with the participles of other Verbs. 
Thus: "/o be studying; I am studying; it is studied." 
'V'ou recollect that to be means to exist ; and therefore the 

fhrases in the example last given, mean, tojexist studying; 
exist studying ; it exists studied* This Verb and the 
Verb to Aave,are used together as auxiliaries to some princi. 

xrmoLooY or wrbs. 61 

pal Verb; as "I have been walking; I hate 6«<n>eading; 
I have been misrepresented." The full meaning of these 
is» I posaetsed exietenee walking; I pewegsed existence 
reading ; I possessed existence misrepresented, or in a mis- 
represented state. 

116. Presuming that you have carefully read, and there- 
fore fully understand, all that has been said relative to 
these two constantly used Verbs, I will now give you the 
complete conjugation of both : 


To Have. 



PreMBt < ^** Person. I have. We have. 

Time I ^ Person. Thou hast, You have. 

^* f 3d Person, He, she, or it has. They have. 

Past ^ ^^^ Person. I had, We had. 

Tim« "S 2d Person. Thou hadst. You had. 

xium. ^ 3^ Person. He, she, or it had. They had. 

Piitiirp { '"* Person. I shall, or will have, We shall or will have. 

Time i "^^^^ ®***"' ^^ ^^" **^®' Y^o" shall or will have. 

*""• ( He, she, or it, shall or will have. They shall or will have. 


ilf I have, or may, might, could, would, or should have. 
If thou have, or may have. 
If he, she, have, or may have. 

J If we have, or may— have. 
If you have, or may have. 
If they have, or may have. 



Let me have. Let us have. 

Have thou. Have you. 

Let him, her, or it have. Let them have^ 


.tfcttv«.— Having. Poftive.^UaA, 


117. Yoa reooUect that this Verb is irse|[Tilar ; but it is 
fki less so, than the Verb to be, which ia the most irregular 
Verb in •ur langoage, and you will consequently see the 
necessity of paying great attention to its conjugation : 


To he. 



lit Person, T am, 

- Thou art, 

~ He, she, or it is. 



C Ist Person, I was, 

< 2d Thou wast, 

}3d "- — -- 

He, she, or it was. 
1st Person, I shall or will be, 

Thou Shalt or will be, 
He, she, or it, 9haU or 
will he. 

( 1st Person, 1 
(3^ J 


We are. 

Tou are. 

They are. 

We were. 

You were, 

They were. 

We shall or will be. 

Yoa diall or will be 

They shall or will be. 



[ If I be, or may, might, could, woald, or should, be. 

' e, or may, — be. 

I, or it be, or may,— be. 

„ I If Ibe.orn 
f"*^If thoube.c 
* (Ifhe, she, o 


Ifwebe, or may,- 

Plural. < If you be, or may, — 
( If they be, or may,- 





. fif Iw 
^ } If tho 
• i If he, 

If I were, 
"" thou wast, 

she, or it were. 



If we were. 
If you were. 
If they were. 


Let me be. 

Be thou. 

Let him, her, or it be. 




Let us be. 
Be you. 
Let them be. 



118. You see that the word t/, ia plaoed before both 
of the narabers, both of the times, and all of the perionsi 
ia the Subjanctive mode. Bat 70a mast not, therefore oon- 
sider that this little wcMrd is necessary to the making of the 
Sabjanctive ; for a Verb can be in that mode without au if 
being used ; and can bo in the indicative, though at the 
Mme time, an if is used. The sense of the sentence must 
determine in which mode the Verb should be. Whenever 
the action or state of being oxpresssd by the Verb, is 
expressed in a conditional manner, end not in a positive 
one, the Verb must be in the subjunctive. This matter, how- 
ever, I will explain to you hereafter. 

119. You see that the participles are called ia this Verb, 
ihe present and the ptist^ instead of the active and the pas- 
sive. The reason of this, is, that if being should be called 
an active participle, persons might reasonably urge objec- 
tions against the name. They might say that there wajs no 
action in being ; and that of coarse, then being could not 
properly be called activt. And that 60en could not be called 
passive ; because as there was no action, whatever, im. 
plied in the Verb, there could be no passiveness : PaS" 
stoeness, in grammar, meaning the unresisting receiving 
of an action, or the quiet resting after an action. To 
prevent these objections from being raised, the names of 
this Verbs* participles have been changed. But recollect, 
this is the only Verb in which a change of this kind is 
made. The participles of all other Verbs are called active 
and passive. 

120. As to the signs, would^ could, should, might, may, 
can, must, and the like, which most grammarians ctul 
Verbs defective, I have very little to say. They are of 
such constant use that people never make mistakes in 
regard to them. Indeed, I think that any directions 
which I might give you, connected with their use, would 
only be a waste of the time of both of us; for people who 
have no knowledge of grammar, speak these words just 
as correctly as do those who have spent years in the study. 
These words probably had a dilBTerent signification once, 
from what they have now. But this is of no consequence 
to us. AU that we want, is, to know how to use them 

64 mmoLOGiF or AvmMM* 

■ccordiiig to their pretent si|[iiification ; and this knowledge 
we obtain eren in our infS^cj. Should, may once haTe 
been the past time of shall; so may would have been the 
past time of voiU ; could of can; and might of may. The 
word ought is not correctly naed in the pasttime ; as, ** he 
ought to have voted ;*' **he«AouIdh&ve voted," it must be. 
121. I have now given yon all that relates to the Ety. 
mology of Verbs. I will therefore conclude by remarking 
that you ought to read this Letter over and over, with the 
utmost attention ; for what is herein contained, is of greater 
importance than any thing previously given. 



122. As you have read a good many pages since you 
were told any thing concerning this part of speech, you 
had better turn back to paragraphs 22, and 23, and i^ad 
attentively what you will there find. You perceive that 
Adverbs are used to express something in addition to all 
that is expressed by the verbs, adjectives, nouns, and pro* 
nouns ; and that they are divided into Adverbs of time, 
»/ace, extent, order, quality, and manner. These divisions, 
nowever, it is not necessary that you should adhere to, 
like you should those made in pronouns, noons, and verbs. 
You need not say, when you come to dissect a sentence, 
^ this is an Adverb of time,'* or, " this is an Adiyerh of 
place" like you would say, "this is a relative pronoun;'*'' 
or, "this is a personal pronoun" No! you need not 
make these distinctions ; for all words of this part of speech 
are called by the general name of Adverbs ; and I make 
these distinctions, only for the purpose of aiding you tode. 
termine what are, and what are not Adverbs. 

123. The Adverbs of manner are the most numeroas. 
They end in ly, and are derived, immediately from adjec- 
tives. They are generally formed by merely adding ly ta 

xrnioLOGnr or adyiub 65 

the adjective; as, reapeetful becomes retpect/iilly ; amft 
becomes striftly. I^ oowever, the adjecive end in y, that 
y is changed into t in finrmiog the Adyerb ; as, mightf^ 
mightily ; haughty, haughtily*^ When the adjective endls 
in Zr, the £, is dropped in forming the Adverb ; as, stmp^e. 

124. i 

Some Adverbs have degrees of comparison ; aS| 
8oan, 80(mer, soonest; late, later, latest. All Adverbs 
which are derived from irregular adjectives are irregular 
in forming their degreeb of comparison ; as, well, better, 

125. Adverbs are sometimes simple and sometimes 
compound ; that is to say, are sometimes composed of one 
word, and sometimes of two or more. For example : 
honestly ; to'day, by-and-hy. The compomid Adverb is 
frequently used with hjrphens to connect the words of 
which it is composed ; as you see in by-and-by. I have 
something more to say respecting Adverbs, but I will 
defer it tul I haye occasion to speak of the syntax of this 
part of speech. 



126. I need not tell you what Prepositions are ; for a 
moments reflection on the name, pre-position, will give 
you an idea of the office which words of this part of 
speech are destined to fill. Howeyer, for fear that you 
may have forgotten what is said in paragraph 94, you 
had better turn back to it, and read what you will there 
find. It can do you no harm to do so, though you may 
think It unnecessary. 

127. Prepositions are used, principally to express the dif- 
ferent relations in which nouns stand with regard to each 
other. For example : " Washington spoke to Knox ; Knox 
received instructions from Washington.'* These words 



never change their endingrg, and are liable to no variation 
whatever. It is of very little consequence what name 
they are known by. All that yon need desire to know, is, 
how to employ them in connection with other toordo ; and 
this yon will folly know, when yoa have read the Letter 
on the syntax of verbs, and what little I will have to say 
in the Letter on the syntax of prepositions. 



128. Conjunctions, you know, are used to conjoin^ or 
join togetker^ words, parts of sentences, and even, whole sen- 
tenees. They are, by all grammarians of the popular system, 
divided into Copulative and Disjunctive Conjunctiona. 
These names are the quintessence of nonsense. What does 
eopulatioe mean ? why, it means connecting, eoi^mning\ so, 
then, these copulative conjunctions, are conjoining conjunc- 
tionol or more properly conjoining conjoinings ! ! And 
these di^nctive conjunctions^ are diejoining conjunctions: 
or more properly disjoining conjoinings ! ! 

139. For ccy^ulative, I will substitute what is much bet- 
ter. I will give yoti the simple word agreeing. And for 
disjunctive, 1 will give you disagreeing. These words are 
easily understood, significant, and not liable to such an ex- 
hibition of naked deformity, as are those objected to. 
Things may be joined together and yet disagree ; indeed 
we daily see with sorrow, exemplifications of this truth. 
But things cannot be joined together a*^nd yet disjoined. 
It is correct enough to say that things are joined together 
and at the some time agree ; for this is a common occur- 
rence. But what kind of Otaheitan is it to say that thingt 
are joined together^ and not only joired togethkr, but 
absolutely conjoined ! ! 

ISO. I will give you an instance of the agreeing, and 
then one of the disagreeing conjunction: *' George 
and Samuel went.'* ** George went, but Samuel staid." In 


the first instance, George and^Samnel do the same itdng ; 
there is an agreement between them ; but in the second, 
George does one thing and Samuel does another ; there is a 
disagreement between them. Take another inirtancei 
" Buiwer and D'lsraeli are good writers. Their writioge 
are an honor to the age, Buf Dickens (known as Boz) is 
the mere collector and disseminator of the lowest slang, 
His writings can answer no purpose except that of feeding 
a depraved appetite, and of corrupting the taste of all who 
partake of the polluted dish which he selves up.'* The 
first and shows that there is an agreement between Buiwer 
and D^Israeli. The hut shows that there is a disagreement 
between what is said of Dickens, and what is said of the 
preceding writers. The second and shows that both iiames 
collectively or agreeingly apply to Dickens. The except 
servos to connect the effect with the purpose. And the last 
and shows that what is said after it is used, agrees with 
what is said before, in applying to Dickens* writings. ^ 

131. I hope that what is said with regard to Conjunc- 
tions, will cause you no perplexity. These words are 
small affairs, and very easily understood, so far as is neces- 
sary. I know that some writers on grammar, make a 
great noise about Conjunctions ; and do all in their power, 
and may succeed in a few instances, in proving that this 
part of speech does not perform in language the part which 
its definition says it must perform. But what if it do not 7 
T)ie instances are never such as can possibly lead to error 
in the formation of a sentence. This part of speech never 
changes its endings ; it is always written in the same way; 
and it is, as with prepositionp, a matter of the smallest con- 
corn by what name it is known, if we only rightly under- 
stand its usCf No reasoning grammarian cares a fig 
whether a word which is called a Conjunction, or 4 wora 
which is called a preposition, come or come not within the 
limits of the definition that has been given to it. AH that 
he cares for, is, the meaning of the word, taken in connec- 
tion with the other words of the sentence. 

132. The same words are sometimes Conjunctions, sorne^ 
times prepositions, and sometimes adverbs; according to 
the sense in which they are used ; for example: *' I will 


76tef&r an honest and intelligrent man ;for no other, no mat- 
ter how much he may profess to be in ftvour of democracy 
and tile rights of the people, is fit to be a legislator." The 
first for is a preposition, and the second a Conjunction* 
Again : *• The Speaker of the Assembly of Arkansas, de- 
scended firom the chair, and stabbed another member while 
in bis seat, dead, through the body ; but through fear, or 
tbe influence of money, the perjured jury brought in the 
wilfiil murder, justifiable homicide." The first through is 
a prepoBitiony and the last an adverb. 

133. Belbrc I proceed, I must state to you that there are* 
ether words beside those which come under the head of 
Conjunctions and prepositions, which are sometimes of one 
part of speech and sometimes of another: as, "a noiiee 
was posted on the street corners." •• I will noiiee as soon 
as circumstances will permit, the work which you have 
brought." The first •' notice" is a noun and the second a 
verb: ••The remark which you made, was very judicious." 
»' Allow me to remark that you have been misinformed." 
The first ^ remark" is a notin, and the second a verb. The 
sense in which the word is used, and not its formation must 
determine the part of speech to which it belongs. You 
recollect that I told you something similar to this, when 
treating upon participles. 

134. I have now finished my instructions with regard to 
Etymology ; and I trust that every thing spoken of, is as 
clear to you, as I have endeavored to make it If it be 
not, I would urgently press upon ^ou the necessity of 
reading again and again, whatever is m the slightest degree 
obscure ; and not only of reading but of reflecting well 
upon what you do read ; for it will be the summit of folly 
to enter on Syntax without you thoroughly understand all 
that relates to Etymology. 




135. Syntax, you know, means, in plain language, 
sentence making; and as there can be no sense in sentences, 
indeed as there can be no sentences at all, unless certain 
marks taid points, which come under the name of PIiuc^imi- 
tion, be attended to, I think this the most suitable pUce to 
give you the necessary instructions in regard to thisjpujK- 
tuation, I'he meaniog of a sentence is very much affected 
bj punctuation. Let me give vou an example, and at th« 
same time relate an incident, which is pretty well autbent^ 

136. A person was brought before a criminal coort, in 
Ireland, on a charge of robbery. Almost the onljr eTidence 
against him, was a partial confession which he had made 
in the police office, when first examined. This eonfessioa 
was taken down by the police officer, and produced by htm 
upon the trial of the accused individual. It read, 

Mangan said he never robbed but twice 

Said it was Crawford 
This, you perceive, is written without an j regard to marks 
or points. But the meaning which the writer attached to 
it, was, 

. " Mangan said he never robbed but twice : 

Said it was Crawford." 
After this convicting piece of writing had been read* the 
counsel for the prisoner requested to see it He glanced 
over it, and immediately declared thai so far from show- 
ing his client's guilt, it clearly proved his innocence. •♦This,'' 
said he, *'i8 the positive and obvious reading of the paper: 

* Mangan said he never robbed : 

But twice said it was Crawfi)rd.* " 
This interpretation had the desired effisct upon- the jury 
and the prisoner was accordingly acquitted. 

137. I will give you another example in order that you 
may be still more impressed wtth the importance of attend- 
ing to this matter of punctuation : Abner Kneeland was 
iwioe tried on a charge of blasphemy. The iirstlunB ii» 


jury could not agree and wtee discharged. The second 
time he was found guilty ; but appealed to a higher court. 
The sentence on which the charge of blasphemy was 
founded, was contained in a letter from Mr. Kneeland to 
the editor of a univeraalist newspaper. It ran thtis : *' you 
believe in a god which I do not.** This is the sentence as 
Mr. Kneeland affirmed he wrote it. But the editor in 
giving publicity to it, printed it, *' You believe in a God, 
which I do not " This last, you perceive, admits of a 
meaninr diflbrent from that which the first does : *' You 
believe m a God^ which I do not ;** that is, '* ^ou believe 
in a God, which belief in a God, I have not.** This is the in.* 
terpretation that most pefsons would put upon the sentence ; 
bat, as Mr. Knteland wiote ity this meaning cannot, with 
any thing like justice, be given to it ; ^ you believe in a 
god whidi I do not ; *' or, ** you believe in a god that I do 
not.*' That is to say, the pfod tohich you believe in, is not 
the one which I do. I believe in a God, but not in your 
god. This is undoubtedly the meaning of the sentence. 
But to make the matter still plainer, and to show you 
the incalculable advantage that a knowledge of gram- 
mar is, and the ridicule to which persons who have 
not that knowledge, may be exposed, I will quote the 
sentence again ; though in so doing, I shall digress a little 
firom the matter immediately under consideration : ** You 
believe in a god which I do not.'* You know that " which*^' 
is a relative pronoun ; and that being Aich, it must have 
some preceding noun or personal pronoun, called the ante- 
cedent, to which it relates. Now, what is the antecedent 
in this caee ? why, it is god ; and therefore, the sentence 
filled up is, ** you believe in a god which god I do not be- 
lieve in.** It is impossible to extract, fairly, any other 
meaning from the sentence. Here, then, is a powerful illus- 
tration of what punctuation will do, and I trust that it 
will not be thrown away upon you. 

136. The points made use of; in writing, are four. The 
comma, (,) the semicolon, (;) the colon, (:) and the fiill-pout, 
or period. (.) 

139. It is not in ihe power of any grammarian to give 
rules for punctuating, which will at all timea be corrects 
The judgment of the writer or speaker, is the best guides 


He certainly oug^ht to know best what meaningr lie wiifaet 
to give to his own phrases. He is best able to tell where 
the voice requires a momentary suspension, and where it 
requires no suspension at all. Every person can always 
make the proper pauses when speaking, and, indeed, gener- 
ally does, when reading his own writing, though not a 
pause may be marked. But though he can do this, those 
who read his writings cannot; and this is the very opposite 
of what he should desire ; for language is used only as a 
vehicle for the conveyance of ideaf« from the mind of one 
to the minds of others. Persons are seldom at a loss to 
know that such, or such a place in their writings, requires 
a pause ; but they are frequently at a loss to know what 
can represent that pause ; they are at a loss to know what 
to put down that will convey to the reader the same mean- 
ing that they attach to the sentence. They do not know 
whether they should make a comma, a semicolon or a 
colon ; at least a large majority of writers of the ordinary 
class do noL Now, all that these persons want, is to know 
what point has been decided upon b^ good writers to design 
nate a certain pause. The Comma is used to designate the 
smallest divisions in writing, and the shortest pauses in 
speaking. For example: **It is the times that make the 
men ; and not the men, the times. Had the mighty Ameri- 
can revolutiun nerer biokvii uut, the world woiSd, probably, 
never have heard of George Washington, or Thomas Jeffer- 
son.'* You perceive that after the second men, broken out, 
toould, probably^ and Washington, short pauses, are 
required ; and therefore commas, are used ; but that after 
the first men, and the second times, longer pauses are 
required ; and therefore, differents points are used. 

140. The Semi-eolon is next to the comma in the dura* 
tion (^ the time for which the voice should cease. It 
divides simple sientences, in cases where the comma is not 
quite sufficient to keep the meaning of the simple sentences 
sufficiently distinct Let me give you an example in which 
you will find many semi-oolons, and some other points : 
^ How many rich men are there, who are the very soul of 
hospitality and liberality, when visited bv a wealthy man ; 
but yet who grind to powder those in their employ; w^a 


periodically pye bdlfl, and parties, and Bamptaons feasta to 
the infloencial; and yet safier their workmen, those hj 
whose labor they have acquired the very money which they 
are ao prodigally spending, to go unpaid; who yearly giwe 
hurge sums to public charities, when they know diat the mat- 
ter will become known to the affluent ; and yet, who are the 
greatest niggards on earth, with regard to those who are poor 
and obscure. If we viewed the conduct of these persons to- 
wards the influencial only, we would consider them exceed- 
ingly munificent, though, to be sure, very indisereet; but 
as we view them in both situations, we must inevitably 
come to the conclusion that they- are in principle, selfish 
•nd misanthropic; for we readily perceive that the charac- 
ter of generosity is merely an assumed one ; assumed for 
the purpose of self-advancement ; and that too, at the ex- 
pense of those who are unfortunate enough to be poor. It 
w made a virtue to take from the unknown, and give to the 
well known. A person's character should dways be 
estimated by his private acts, and not by his public ones; 
unless he be a servant of the public." 

141. The Cidon is next to ibe iull point, in reqmring a 
complete sense in the words. It is mostly used when the 
writer intends that an explanation of what he is then 
speaking of; shall immediately follow the sentence which 
the cok>n concludes. For example: ** There are but 
seven primary planets : Jupiter, Saturn, Earth, MarstVenus, 
Mercury, Herschel." 

142. The JFWi Point is used at the end of every com. 
jdete sentence. And a complete sentence, is a collection of 
words^ making a comfdete sense, without being dependent 
upon another collection of words to convey the full mean* 
ing intended. For example : ^*A paper currency is a ^reat 
curse.** A sentence, however, may consist of several 
numbers or <{teistsns; and when it does, it is called a am* 
pound sentence. The one just given as an example, is a 
nmpU sentence; but the one w^h I will now give, yoa 
will perceive is comipounded of two simple sentences : ** There 
are many evils which a country may be afflicted with; 
but the one most to be dreaded, scarcely excepting civil 
war, and loss of liberty, is an entire paper currency.*' 

vuwnvATLov. 78 

143. Theie are all the points. Bat there are five tnarlks 
which are used in sentences : The mark of PwefUheM^ 
the mark of Interrogation, the mark of Exelamationf the 
Apostrophe, and the Hyphen, 

144. The Parenihe^ is marked thus: () It is made use 
of to enclose a word or phrase, which we consider will tend 
to explain the matter we are speaking of; or it is made use 
of to add force to our assertions or argfuments. Here is an 
example: **How often are the poor (I mean the very poor) 
sufihring- for bread, while thousands of dollars are foolishly 
spent to mtify the vitiated tastes of the children of luxury." 

145. The Interrogation is marked thus : (?) and is used 
when a question is asked. As its name indicates, we use 
it when we tn(0rroga(« ; thus: " Whom did you see ? What 
did you say? Will yoa go?** It is necessary to put this 
mark after the words ; l^ause on it depends, in many in- 
stances, the sense of the sentence. ** Whom did you see f 
Thomas ?*' When I ask in this way, I mean, ^ what person 
did you see 7 was it Thomas ?** But when I ask, " whom 
did you see, Thomas?** I mean "what person did you, 
Thomas, see?'* In speaking, the sense would be deter- 
mined by the modulation of the voice; but in writing, there 
is no other guide than this mark. 

146. The Admiration, or Exclamation, is marked thus : 
(!) It is used in exclamatory sentences; as, ** Oh! what shall 
I do i what is to become of me !** This mark is a great 
deal used by some authors, and not much by others. The 
style o€ the writing determines to a great extent, the use of 
this mark. Yon can easily distinguish the difference be- 
tween what shall I do ! and what shall I do? In the first 
expression, I merely give yent to my footings without 
desiring any one to reply to me ; but in the last, I call upon 
some one to give me information;' to tell me what to do. 

147. The Apostrophe is marked thus : (*) It is the same 
as a comma, only that it is placed above the line. It is 
used frequently for abbreviating; and in poetry answers 
this purpose exceedingly well ; because these lines must 
have so many /eat, as poets say in them; and these /eet are 
determined by the syllables. Heav*n and gto'tt may do 
very well in poetry, but never ought to be tolerated in prose. 


So widi ean*t for eannof , khouldnH for «ikottM not. This 
mark is necessar/ ia the posaessive case, as I have befinm 
iniEbrmed jou ; and it is scarcely ever used in prose writinif 
in any other manoer. 

148. The Hyfhen is marked thus : (-) It is used to con- 
nect words, and thos make a compound word of two or 
more words ; as horse-^hoe^j^'Caicher^ 8eare'>€row. The 
hyphen is sometimes used to connect many words, when 
these words are used as adjectives; as, the ^ever-to-be- 
remembered-Fourth of July, 1776." 

■ 149. Besides these marks, there are various signs made 
ose of by authors, such as *, t, t, il, ^ ^ ; which refer the 
reader to the bottom of the page for a farther explanation oi 
the subject which the writer is treating upon. But the less 
you use these marks of reference, the better. Altrays 
endeavour to make your writing sufficiently explicit ia the 
body of the page, without having to call upon any notes to 
help you out of your undertaking. 

150. You perceive that some words are printed in Italies^ 
some in small capital, and some in LARGE CAPITAL 
letters. In writing, when you wish a word to be set up 
m JtalicSf you make a single stroke under it with a pen ; 
when in small capitals, two strokes; and when in 
LARGE or FULL CAPITALS, three strokes. We also 
use a capital letter at the beginning of every sentence that 
succeeds a full-point ; at the beginning of all proper names ; 
as, " George, New- York ;" at the beginning of all adjec- 
tives which are derived from the names of countries. or 
nations ; ac>, " the American revolution ; the United StateM 
government ; the Jetoish religion. 

151. The Caret is marked thus : (a) and is used to point 
the reader to something that is immediately above the line 
in which the mark is. This something is an omitted part 
of what the writer has to say. This mark tends to dis- 
figure the page ; but if you can improve your authorship 
by interlining a few words, of course the mere appearance 
of the writing should not deter you from so doing. 

153. Same writers make great use of the dash ; which is 
a stroke along the line thus : — This mark may, perhaps 
once in a hundred instances, be used correctly ; but there is 
no need whatever,for using it oncfiilieth part of the number 


of times that it is by some. The comma, semUcolon^ colon, 
and fall-poinfrwillin nearly all casep, answer every purpose. 
Take an example : " Lethargy or apathy will mildew all 
your purposes. One concentrated mass of mould will over-* 
spread all your enterprises; extending its contaminating 
influence even to your physical persons; until you find 
yourselves a moving ^body of gangrene — the corruption 
advancing, but the corrupted retrograding." Some writers 
would mangle this, thus: "Lethargy or apathy will mildew 
all your purposes — one concentrated mass of mould will 
overspread all your enterprises— extending its contemina- 
ting influence even to your physical persons — until you 
find yourselves a moving body of gangrene — the corrup- 
tion advancing, but the corrupted retrograding.** The last 
dash may do ; but none of the others can be tolerated. 
Although some authors make jgreat use of the dash, they 
cannot be said to be in favor of it. They know that some 
mark must be put afler a certain word, or set of words ; 
but they do hot know what that mark ought to be ; so down 
they clap a dash, and thus endeavor to conceal their igno- 
rance of punctuation; and perhaps they do conceal it from 
many who ore like themselves; but they, at the same time, 
more fully expose it to those, the good opinion of one of 
whom is worth the opinions of five hundred unknowing 



153. You will not make any great mistake in the using 
of this part of speech. People are generally able to come 
at the meaning of a speaker, though he may not use one 
Article correctly. But then this is not the way that a per- 
son ought to speak. He ought to speak in such a manner, 
that his words will admit of but one meaning, and cannot 
be rendered nonsense by criticism. 

76 ■TllTAX. 

154. Too recollect that in pangnph 38, 1 stated that 
tlie general article was applied to* nouns in the siD|rii]ar 
nnmher onljr. It would seem that there is an ezoepfcioii 
to this role ; for we can correcdj saj, a number orhorses, 
though that number implies a plurality. That nomber, 
howerer, though it may take many to make it^ is, when 
made, one things one maa9 ; and therefore that one thing', 
one mass, is singular. It will take three and two and 
one, to make the number star; yet that number six is 

155. Always reflect upon the meaning of words, befere 
you put down an article, and you will seldom or never err 
in its use. You will know whether it will be right to ssy, 
** I wish to see the president and leader of the society,*' or, 
**I wish to see the president and the leader of the society." 
In the first instance, the meaning is, '* I wish to see the 
pereon who acts as president and leader f in the second, 
** I wish to see the persons who act as fX'esident and 

156. When we use a noun to express the whole of a 
species, we may omit the article ; but when we use a noun 
without wishing to express merely the species, we must use 
the article. Thus we say, "woman is a beautiful creature;" 
**the woman is a beautiful creature." In the first instance, 
the meaning is, that woman as a whole species, or as part 
of the human species, is beautiful. In the second, the 
meaning is limited to one woman, whom we have before 
spoken of, or heard of. Again : ** man is courageous ;'* ^^tke 
man is courageous." You see that the first has reference 
to man solely as a species ; but that the last has reference 
to him as a particular man. ** Apples are ripe ;** ** the 
apples are ripe ;** ^ Peaches are delicious ;** " the peaches 
are delicious." The first and third instances refer to fruit 
as a whole kind, or sort; the second and last to some jper- 
tieular frait of a kind or sort. 

157. Mr. Cobbett says, that to say, >« a dollar a bnahel," 
is much better than to say, ^ a dollar per bushel ;" and se 
it is ; for **per bushel" or per any thing is an awkward, and 
unmusical expression ; and is, moreover, not half so well 
understood. «« A dollar a bushel ;" that is, a dollar for a 

Nouiff. 77 

biMhel. What can be more simple and yet more ezpres* 
sive. Some persons fancy thej are talking very leaniedly 
-whbn they are saying, ** at the rate of six per cent per 
annnm;" but how much more harmonious, and easily 
understood, would it be to say, ** at the rate of six cents 
CO a hundred, for a year." 

158. When serersd nouns follow the general article, it 
must agree with them according to what was said in pa- 
ragraph 35. " A hawk, pheasant, eagle, horse aad ele- 
phant.'* ^ Here a does not agree with eagle and elephant ; 
and therefore the article must be repeated before each of 
the nouns ; thus : ** a hawk; a pheasant, an eagle, a horse, 
and an elephant." 



159. Supposing that you understand all that was said 
in Letter V, concerning the etymology of nouns, I will 
now proceed to give yoa some information relating to the 
syntax of this part of speech. Nouns are governed by 
verbs and prepositions ; that is to say, nouns are caused 
to be in one of the three cases, by the influence of these 
two sorts of words. This matter, however, I will postpone 
to speak of, till I come to the syntax of verbs. 

160. The pofiesnve case is the only one that is denoted 
by a change in its ending. And this being the fact, I 
deem it unnecessary to speak of the other two in this 
place; and even with regard to this one, what was said in 
paragraph 51, is so easily understood, and the whole case 
IS so simple, and so little likely to be wrongly employed, 
that I wUl have very litUe to say in this Letter. 

161. Mr. Cobbett says, ** that when the noun, which is 
in the possessive case, is expressed by a circumlocution, 
that is to say, by many words in lieu of one, the sign of 
the possessive case is joined to the last word ; as, ** Jf^fi^ 

fg STMT4X. 

the old former'B, wife." *" Oliver, the spy's, evidence." 
This is an awkward mode of expreesion, even if it weald 
admit of only on« meaning; but it will admit of fico: 
" John, the old fiirmer'8, wife," haa more the appearance 
of meaning, "the old farmer's wife, JToAn," than any thing 
else "John, the old farmer's wife;" that is, "John, 
(who was) the old farmer's wife." The only thing that 
can nrevent a per8<m from giving the sentence this mean- 
ing, is, that John is a man's name ; and therefore a woman 
cwnot be meant But change the name of the individual 
Give a name that both sexes have, and it is almost impoem- 
hie to take from the sentence, the meaning that Mr. Cob- 
bett attaches. I will take the names, Francis and Frances; 
these being pronounced more alike than any two which 
men and women individually have. " Francis, the old 
farmer's, wife." Now would not any body, Ijeanng me 
utter this sentence, suppose I meant, "the old farmer's 
wife, Frances ?" Undoubtedly he would. Agam : " Oliver, 
the spy's evidence," that is, *• OUver, (whowat) the spy^s 
evidence ;" or, "Oliver the evidence of the spy ;" an evi. 
dence brought forward to prove something in favor of the 
spy. This is the meaning that nearly every person would 
give the sentence. Nobody would suppose that Oliver 
was himself the spy ; and that what was intended to be 
told, was that he, as sucli, had given evidence. The only 
correct way to write sentences of this kind, is, " the wife 
of Francis, the old farmer ;" " the evidence of Oliver, 
the SDV." 

162. We Ecmetimes substitute a hyphen for the sign of 
the possessive case; as, ** govemment-meiimreB are some- 
times injmioUB." That is, ^* govemmenVs measures, or the 
measures of the government, are sometimes injurioas." 
When two words are joined as these are, they are known 
by the name of a compound noun, ThcFC are a great 
many compound words m our language} or rather a great 
many words in our language can be made compound. I 
will give you a few instances : «f of e-de(t, steamboat-racing, 
ohip-aiorea, parlour-floor ; that is, state"* debt, steambaafs 
racing, ship^s atores, parlour* b floor. 

Noimi. 79 

163. With regrard to this compoundinjf of worde, Mr. 
Cobbett sayet, "it b an advantage pecnliar to our language. 
It enables us to say much in few words, which always 
l^ives strength to language, and after clearness^ strength 
M the most valuable quality that wriUng or speaking can 
poesess, ' The Yorkshire-men flew to arms.' If we conM 
not compound our words, we must say, ^ the men of the 
shire of York flew to arms."* The remarks of this writer 
previous to the example which be gives, are certainly true 
and very judicious ; but the assertion that if we could not 
compound our words, we would have to say, *The men of 
the shire of York flew to arms,* is very fiir from true. 
Could we not say, ** the men of Yorkshire flew to arms ?** 

164. Writers are seldom careful enough in the use of the 
poinessive case. In order that the errors of others may be 
a warning to you, I will here give an example of the wrong 
use of words when placed in connection with this case. A 
will be part of the celebrated speech of Logan, a Mingo 
Indian Chie£ This speech is held up to Europe and the 
world, by Mr. Jeffera<»i, as the roost finished specimen of 
eloquence, that has ever been produced by man. When a 
stigma is cast upon our country ^by the Abbe Raynal, M. 
de Buffbn and otheri?, who declare that man degenerates in 
America; that there is something in our soil, or in our 
climate, that will not permit genius to grow; that here 
man degenerates, not only mentally, but physically and 
morally — ^thls speech is pointed to by Mr. Jefierson, as suft 
ficient to disprove the national slander, and to elevate us 
far above our traducers; and when, too, these persons^ 
having become afl^ected with tlie mania that it is the 
most wonderful production of modem times, deny that it 
was ever written by an Indian ; and assert that it is a for* 
gery ; that Mr. Jefierson forged it, he with enraptuve de- 
Clares, that it is no slight compliment to him, for them to 
suppose that he could conceive such a production ; that his 
greatest ambition in authorship, would be but to equal this 
speech. Here it is, in part : 

165. *'I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he 
entered Logan^s cabin hungry, and he gave him not meat ; 
if ever he came cold and naked, and he clothed him not.'* 

80 BTirrAx. 

Now, who gives, and who receives ; who clothes, and vvho 
is clothed? If we go according to the sense which we 
sappose the author intended to convey, we will conclude 
that Logan gives, and the white man receives ; that Lcigan 
dothes, and the white man is clothed. Bat if we go ac- 
cording to the sense of the words used, the white man 
gives, and Lqgan receives; the white man clothes, and 
Logan is clothed. "Ijogan*s cabin, and he gave him not 
meat.*' Logan, 70a see, is in the possessive case ; and a 
noun in the possessive case, cannot have a pronoun in the 
nominaive case, like A«, coming in to supply its place. Cabin 
is the noun for which the pronoun stands ; and here, then, 
we have cabin called a Ae. "Logan's cabin he] gave him 
(whom 7) not meat ; if ever he (that is, the cabin) came 
cold and naked, and he (the cabin) clothed him (the 
cabin or the white man, which ever you like,) not." 

166. This is no pervertion ; it is the grammatical mean- 
ing of the words. We are prevented from seeing errors of 
this kind, by our imagination becoming interested in the 
general substance of the narration, without any regard to 
the wording. 

167. I would like to give the whole of this speech at 
once ; but as the noticing of all the errors which it con- 
tains, would oblige me to speak of pronouns and verbs as 
well as of nouns, and as you do not understand as much of 
the two former parts of speech, as I hope you will when 
you have read the following Letters, I consider it best now, 
to give only the part in which the noun is incorrectly used. 
By dividing the speech into so many parts, with such a 
space between each, I know that I will greatly lessen the 
force of the criticisms I may make ; but still, rather i>»»n 
perplex you by remarks which you are not sufficiently ad* 
vanced to understand, I shall adopt this plan. 

paoNoONs. 81 




1^ 168. Do yon recollect all that was said in Letter VI? 

' I hope you do. Perhaps you recollect a great part of it ; 

but stiU you had better read again the entire Letter ; for 
you will presently have need of all the knowledge of this 
[ pert of your study that you can obtain. 

' 169. In the extract from the speech of Logan, you per- 

^ ceive what confusion there is amongst tiie pronouns. 

^ These words are of constant use; and consequently to 

^ know how to employ them properly, is of the utmost im- 

\ portance. You must not write sentences in which the 

pronouns can be made to relate to, or stand for, any other 
noims, than the ones which you intended they should. 
You see the mischief that want of attention to this 
matter has occasioned in the speech of Logan. An in- 
discriminate use of he and him has made the part 
already quoted, and which for your benefit I will again 
q^ete, almost iminteliigible : "I appeal to any white 
man to say, if ever he (right,) entered Logan's cabin 
hungry, and he (who?) gave Am (whom?) not meat; if 
ever he (who ?) came cold and naked, and he (who ?) cloth- 
ed bim (whom ?) not." Whenever we meet with a sentence 
like this, our judgment is the only guide, whereby we can 
determine what me writer wishes to say. If we merely 
follow the wording, we will never arrive at the meaning. 
In the above sentence, our judgment tells us that the sec<md 
he is intended to stand for Logan ; the first him for the 
white man; the third he again for the white man; the fourth 
he again for Logan ; and the second him agrain for the white 
man. Of course, we do not obtain this meaning without 
stopping our reading to reflect upon what we have read; and 
consequently we make but little progress in perusing the 
productions of one who writes in this style. There may, 
moreover, be instances similar to the above, in which it 
will be impossible to come at the meaning that the au- 
thor intended to convey, no matter how much judgment 

we may posseBS. It 19, thereioF^, a clear waste of time to 
read over his writings. He is anintelligible; and unintel- 
ligibility is the greatest fiiult that a writer could have. 

170. How easily all this confusion would have been 
avoided, if the Jirti person instead of the thirds had been 
used ; tbooghv to be sure, this would not have been quite 
so pompous soonding at the opening. 

171. ** I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he en- 
tered my cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat ; if ever 
he came cold and naked, and I clothed him not." If tliia 
be not as elegant as the other, it is certainly a hundred 
times more clear ; and clearness, as Mr. Cobbett says, is 
the first thing that should be attended to. 

- 172. Be careftd never to write a personal pronoun without 
oonsidering fully' what noun it will, upon a reading of the 
sentence, l^ found to stand for. Mr. Cobbett says .* «* In 
the Lord's Prayer, in the English Church Service, we say, 
* Our Father, which art in Heaven.' In the American Li- 
torgy, this error has been corrected ; and THEY say, 
» Our Father who art in Heaven.* " 

173. Now, what does this they stand for ? where is there 
any plural noun which this pronoun can correctly be in the 
plftce of? there is none in the sentence. We cannot call 
liturgy a they ; and this is the only noun that the pronoun 
can seem to represent American is not a noun ; it is an 
adjective; and a pronoun is never used for, or in the place 
of an ac^ective. And even if American was a noun, the 
pronoun would not be correctly employed ; because the 
former is singular, and the latter plural. Mr. Cobbetthas 
made a terrible blunder here. He means, " In the Ameri. 
can Liturgy this error has been corrected. The Ameri. 
cans say, * Our Father who art iu Heaven.' " This is no 
doubt what he wished to say ; but the sentence, as he has 
written it, is nonsense ; "The American Liturgy THEY 

174- When two or more nouns are connected by an 
agreeing conjunction^ and when a personal pronoun is 
made to stand for them, care must be taken that this pro- 
noun agree with them in number. You must not say. 

^ economy and industry are {HraJaewoithy in tmj one ; but 
i< is a mere Dothin^r when compared witii honesty and so- 
briety;" because you would here make it, third persbii 
singiilfir, stand for ecanomy and industry, the tiurd persoft 
{liaraL They instead of it should be used. 

175. Mr. Murray, in his Eng^lish Grammar,8ays, **aa 
adverb is a part of speech joined to a verb, an adjective, 
and sometimes to another adverb, to express scnne quality 
or circumstance respecting it" Here is a personal pronoun, 
which of course must stand for some noun or noons. Now, 
which is the noun, that this personal pronoun it stands fyr ? 
Why, by examining you find that there are three nouns, 
a verb, an adjective, and an adverb, which it stands for. So 
that here is another fine blunder in a grammar book. Them 
should have been used in place of it, 

176. But if the nouns be connected by a disagreeing 
conjunction, like or, the pronoun must be in the singular ; 
as, ** give me an apple, a peach, or a plum, and I will 
eat it." 

177. Nouns of multitude, such as Congress, Association, 
Company, Mob, Legislature, Committee, Board of Mana- 
gers, and so forth, may have pronouns to agree with them 
either in the singular or the plural number. Speaking of 
Congress we can say, "if has adjourned;" or, " they have 
adjourned." Of an Association, ** it passed a resolution ;" 
or, « they passed a resolution." We can use the pronoun 
just as we may think beet. If we wish to speak of the 
members as individuals, acting in that capacity, we ought 
to say they ; but if we wish to speak of them as forming a 
body, which is singular, and which as one body, does some- 
thing, we use the singular number, and say it. But we 
must be consistent. We must not caU a body of persons 
»* in one part of a sentence, and they in another. Indeed, 
we should never use the singular pronoun in one place, and 
the plural in another, when applying to the same noun, 
though several sentences intervene. Speaking of Con- 
gress, we must not say, ** they this session enacted some 
beneficial laws ; but it spent a good deal of time in doing 
nqthing. Instead of gratifying private animosities by in- 
dulging in personal attacks, how much better would it be , 


if tbe members would c<insider that the public weal wa« 
the only object which they were elected to promote. He 
who b the represeDtfttive of a free people, holds one of 
the most honourable offices on earth. And knowing this, 
he should always bear in mind that he is expected to act 
in a manner worthy of the high station he fills. It would 
seem, when we look at the materials of which Congress is 
composed, that it should be the greatest concentration of re- 
finement, talent and virtue, in the land. They are brought 
together firom all parts of the union. They are the choeen 
citizens of each part, who are supposed to be the most ca- 
pd>le of discharging the duties of the office, with honor to 
themseWes, and satisfaction to their constituents ; and it is, 
indeed, a source of the deepest regret, if the conduct of 
these persona cannot be held up as an example to others." 

178. To make these sentences correct, the first tAey 
should be it, and the next to the last they should be the 

179. The same consistency must be observed with regfard 
to the gender of pronouns. The only terminations to des- 
ignate gender, are in the third person singular ; Ae, sbe, it. 
The first, you know, is the masculine, the second, the iemi* 
nine, and the last, the neuter. We, however, by a figure of 
speech, frequently give to things which are neuter, the dis- 
tinguishments of sex. We often call a nation ehef a ship 
she ; the sun he ; death he ; but we must be carefiil not to 
call a nation, or any thing else, she in one part of a sen- 
tence, and it in another. 

180. When we do not know the gender of a living crea- 
ture by the name that is given to it. we make use of the 
neuter pronoun, though we arc confidant that the creature 

181. The personal pronouns, when in the pobzessive, or 
the objective case^ must agree in number and gender with 
their correspondent nouns or pronouns : " William attends 
balls regularly two niglits in each week ; and as a conse- 
quence, is unable to attend to his business, on the following 


daj0. Bat Georg^e and James spend their evenings at 
home, or at the house of a friend, and retire to bed at an 
early hour. They are, therefore, very seldom incapable of 
attending to their interests. Mary, their sister, keeps house 
for them; and by her frugality and good management, 
assbts in producing that competence of wealth which wiH 
one day be theirs,''* If nouns of both genders come befijre 
pronouns, you must be careful not to use a pronoun which 
will cause a confusion of meaning : '* A man or woman 
cannot be too careful of hia reputation." This will not do : 
neither will it do to say, *^ a man or woman cannot be too 
careful of their reputation.** Ypu must in all such instances, 
though it may sometimes produce a very hammering 
style, repeat the pronoun ; as, ** a man or woman cannot 
be too careful of his, or her reputation,** This rule also 
holds good with regard to nouns of both numbers ; as, " any 
person or persons violating this law, shall upon his or their 
conviction thereof, pay a fine of one hundred dollars ; and 
should the offence be by him or them repeated, an additional 
sum of fifty dollars, shall be the penalty.'* 

182. In order to prove to you the necessity of attending 
to the rule that pronouns in their possessive case, and also 
their objective, must agree in person, gender and number, 
with the nouns for which they stand, I will give yon a 
sentence from an author who ranks high with the American 
public, llie second sentence of the inaugural oration of 
Mr. John Qutncy Adamp, delivered upon the occasion ctf 
his being installed professor of rhetoric, and oratory in 
Harvard University, runs thus : **In forming an estimate 
of the moral or intellectual merits of many a person^ whose 
name is recorded in the volumesof history, t&eir virtues and 
vices are so nearly balanced, that their station in the ranks 
of fame, has never been precisely assigned, and their repu- 
tation, even ailer death, vibrates upon the hinges of events 
with which they have little or no perceptible connection.** 

183. This is, as I told you a minute ago, but the second 
sentence of Mr. Adams* course of lectures upon the sab- 
ject of rhetoric; and it certainly speaks but ill for the 
correctness of his future lectures, that a short sentence, at 
such a place, should contain ^«e errors I You do not, per- 


haps, now see these errors ; but just follow ine a moment, 
•nd you need not possess the eye of an Argus to detect 
them : When we say, " many a person," we mean many 
persons individually; we mean one person of many ; we 
mean any one perwn out of a hundred, or thousand, or any 
krge number ; and of course, then, this many a person is 
in the singular number, and should have a pronoun in the 
Bingular number to stand for it. But Mr. Adams has osed 
a pronoun in the plural number to stand for it; and that too, 
not only once, but four times ! The thrice used their^ 
should haTe been each time, his; and the they should have 
been he* There is, moreoverj another error in the sentence. 
It is not an error in the pronoun ; it is one in the verb ; 
and therefore it may be out of place to notice it here ; but 
as I have commenced tlie correction of the sentence, I 
must endeavor to finish it : •* Their reputation, even after 
death, vibrates upon the hinges of events, with which they 
ham little or no perceptible connection.** ** They have," 
who have ? why, the person represented by "many a person." 
Well, passing by the error of the pronoun, let me ask, how a 
person can have eonneetion with events after his death? 
His reputation may have connection with events after his 
death ; but he, himself, cannot ; and if Mr. Adams wished 
to Bay that the person's reputation had connection with 
events, he committed another error in the pronoun ; for the 
they then stands in the place of reputation, and should con- 
sequentJy have been t^ But this is not what Mr. Adams 
meant; he meant the person himself ^ and not his reputa- 
tion ; or otherwise, the intended meaning would be sense- 
lesSk Having proved, then, that a person has no connec. 
tion with events after his death, and that the reputation of a 
person is not what is meant in the sentence as having con- 
nection with events after his death, where does the error 
lie 7 Why, it lies in the time ; the have after they^ should 
have been, has had; and this would at once have put mat- 
ters to rights. The sentence, to be correct, must run thus : 
** In forming an estimate of the moral or intellectual merits 
of many a person, whose name is recorded in the volumes 
of hisCory, his virtues and vices are so neaily balanced, 
that his sUtien in the ranks of fame has never been pre- 

cisely awig^ned; and his reputation, eren afterdeath, vibratM 
apon the hinges of events, with which he has had little or 
no perceptible connection." 

164. Be careful not to use the objective case of personal 
pronouns, where you ought to use the nominattTe; and thb 
nonoinative, where you ought to use the objective. ** Her 
bit As ; me strikes sAe." Your ear tells yoa at once that 
the:?e are wrong. Hut there are plenty of instances ia 
which your ear will be of no service. Take a few : «♦ You 
were mistaken in supposing that George and his sister 
sang that duet; it was my sister and me.** This should 
be my sister and I; for I am not the object^ but the uet^ ; 
and therefore the pronoun should be in the nominative. 
•* Who struck you, William ? was it him ?" This ought 
to be he; because he is the actor; as, **was it ht who 
ttruck you ?** " Who painted that picture ?" '« It was me.** 
This ought to be /; that is, it was I who painted tt, Alwnys 
take into view the words of a sentence which are left out, 
but which are understood, and if there be an error, you 
will soon perceive it. **^ There goes the President's wifii. 
Ah ! is that her ?" Her ought to be she ; for the nomina* 
tive case iw, you know, the person or thing that does some- 
thing, or that is something. 

185. The objective case instead of the nominative, it 
frequently erroneously used after the words thun and at. 
For example : ** Scott was a very good poet ; but Byron 
was a much better than him ; and was, too. quite as phil- 
anthropic as him, or any of his cotemporaries.** This 
ought to be, ** better than he ;** ** as phiianthrophlc a$ As.*' 
Fill the sentence up with the understood words, and then 
you will see what the pronouns ought to be : ** Bettor than 
Af,'* that is, better than he waB, *^A8 philanthropic as Ae;** 
that is, as philanthropic as he was. However, you must 
not think that the nominative case always follows as and 
lAon ; for it does not : "I like you more tAan Aim ; I will 
teach you more tAan Atm ; I feel for you as much as Asm." 
** I like you more than he ; I will teach you more than he $ 
I feel for you as much as Ae.*' These are all grammatik 
eally correct ; but the meanings of the three former, are 
entirely diflTerent from those of the three latter. " I lihe 
you more than him," means, I like yea mdre than / Wm 

89 8T1ITAZ. 

Mm; bat ** I like joo more than he,** means, I like yon more 
than he Itkeg ycm, **I will teach yoa more than him,*' means, 
I wUl teach yoa more than / wiU teach him ; bat " I will 
teach you more than he,*' means, I will teach you more 
than he wiU teach you. **I feel for you as much as him,** 
means, I feel far yoa as much as I feel for him ; but <*I ieel 
for yoa as much as he,** means, I feel for you as mudi as 
he/eeUfar yen, 

186. You here see an illostration of the necessity for 
hein^ careful in the highest de^rree, with regard to the dis- 
tinctions of case. You see that you cannot depend upon 
thia word, or that toordj to come af\er, or to come before, to 
be your guide. The sense of the sentence can be yoor 
only guide. Whenthe pronoun represents a person or thing 
that is the object, then, of course, it must be io the objec- 
tiye case; but when it represents a person or thing that 
doe9 something, or is said to he something, then it most be 
in the nominative. Recollect this. 

187. With regard to using the nominative where the ob- 
jective ought to be used, the error mostly occurs when the 
|H!onoun and verb or preposition, are placed at a great dif- 
tance from each other; as, **She and /, the bocK, on not 
only one occasion, but a dozen, was read to** This has 
nothing in it disagreeable to the ear. But place the 
pronoun dose beside the preposition, which (as you will 
hereafter satisfactorily learn) always requires the objectiye 
case of pronouns, and you instantly perceive the error : 
7b ohe, and to i the book was read. Some persons would 
say, and hundreds would think correctly, " the resolutions 
were very well read by the clerk ; but much better by the 
author than Ae.** This, however, ought to be him ; *< much 
better by the author than hy him,** 

188. The personal pronoun it, is something of very great 
importance ; and something that may caune you no little per- 
plexity. It not only gtandofor nouns, but it is used to ex- 
press a state of thingo, *^h was so windy, yesteiday, and it 
rained so heavily, that I fbar great damage has been done 
to the grain.'* You see that the it does not here stand 
for any noun that is expressed, ^^h was so windy;" what 
was? Not the wind; no one would say, the wind v>a$ so 
fstfi^. Not the day ; for only a part of the day may haye 
been win4y. Not the weather; for the wind caused the 


weather to be as it was ; not the weather caused the wind. 
Take away the wind and the weather is changed. Hew- 
CTer, as the last seems to be the most reasonable, I will, 
for the sake of explanation, say that it stands for ike 
weather; and therefore, the weather was windy, yesterday. 
You see that in the example gi^en, there are two its ; 
whatever one stands for, the other must ; if the first stand 
for tAS weather^ so must the second. And then we have 
" The weather was so windy, yesterday, and the weather 
rained so heavily, that I fear groat damage has been done 
to the grain.*' What I ** the weather rained so heavily i" 
Who would not laugh to hear a person speak in this way? 
*« The weather rained I" what did it rain? Weather is the 
^ect of something ; not the cause. The rain was more 
the cause than the effect of the weather ; or, at least, it 
formed a part of the weather ; for if snow were to come in 
its place the weather would be different The ite as used 
in the instance given, stand for etaie of things. And the 
sentence mlj^ht be written, ** the wind was so high, yes- 
terday, and the rain was so heavy, that I fear great damage 
has been done to the grain ;" or, the " state of things which 
existed yesterday, was so windy, and so exceedingly rainy, 
that I fear great damage has been done to the grain.*' 
The last is precisely the meaning of the first example ; 
though, of course, the first is vastly preferable; for the 
other is not only awkward, but affectedly perspicuous. If 
you do not yet understand this it in the capacity in which 
it here stands, I will give you a few more examples : ^JU is 
clear, to-day;" that is, a state of things which we call clear, 
or clear weather,'exi8ts to-day. '*/£ will snow, to-morrow;" 
that is, a state of things which we call snow, will exist to- 
morrow. It will freeze, to-night, that is, a state of things^ 
which we call frost, will exist to-night. Reflect well upon 
these sentences before you go any further. 

189. Some grammarians declare that this definition of 
what it stands for, is not correct ; that it does not stand for 
state of things ; and afler ridiculing the idea that it does, 
these persons instance as a proof of what they assert, the 
phrase, •* It rams." " What rains ?" say they ; " why, the 
rain rains. By reference to the dictionary, we find that 
to rain, means, tofaU from the clouds; so that the whole 


metning of *itrain$,* or, *the rain nine,* is, the r«tfi 
falU. This Yerj explanation I heard given by a grnun- 
marian in a public lecture; and I recollect well, with what 
exultation he smacked his hands together, as he gave the 
conolttding words. But let us examine the explanation a 
little, and I think we will find it not quite so clear as the 
grammarian fancies it is: ** To rain ;" what is that 7 why, 
that is, according to the definition in any dictionary in 
use, *'to fall in drops of water from the clouds." So, 
then, ^ the rain rains" is, the rain faUe -in drop9 •/ 
water from the clouds; and this is little short of ncmsense. 
** Falls in drops !" why, who ever knew it to fidl in any 
other way ? How else could it fall ? And what then is the 
use of saying it falls in drops ? Aye, and it not only fiJls 
in drops, but it absolutely falls in drops of water ! V* This 
is tautology by the double rule of three ! To say, ^^ the 
rain falls,** is quite sufficient; indeed,/a/Z8 is hardly i 

sanr ; for every body knows that if there be rain, it miifli 
fali. But according to the explanation of the gramma- 
rian referred to, "falls** alone, will not answer, because this 
word by itself, is no definition of " to rain.** We might 
say ** falls, fidls,** as much as we jrieased, and we would 
have no idea of rain. The grammarian omitted, either 
through design or want of knowledge, the principal part 
of the definition. 'He must put to "falls,** the words which 
determine the meaning, or there is no definition at all. 
He must say, " to fall in drops of water from the clouds.^* 
Nothing short of this will do to define to rat/t. And this, 
jovi see, when put to " the rain,** is sheer nonsense : the 
rain palls in drops of watrr from the clouds ! ! 

190. In addition to the pronoun il being used as here 
stated, the verb to be and it are used to mark in a strong 
manner, whatever is affirmed or denied: " It was the 
American nation that struck the first blow for modem 
freedom, h was a glorious sight to see three millions of 
people, throwing aside all personal diffisrences, all local 
jealousies, having no bond of union but the sympathy 
which a sense of wTonv inspires, yet uniting as one man, 
and untiringly strugglmg with the strength of a nant, 
for the inaliennble rights of man. It was Andrew Jack* 
ran who humUed the British army; and U wa$ Hull 


Decatur, Stewart, Porter, Perry, and others, who htimbled 
the British navy ; who caused the derided " striped bunting** 
of the free, to wave, where once fluttered, in boasted defi. 
anee, the blood stained cross of the oppressor !" These 
sentences are much more forcible than to say, ^ the Ame- 
rican nation struck the first blow for modern freedom. 
To see three millions of people strup^gling- for the inalien- 
able rigrhts of man, was a glorious sight. Andrew Jackson 
humbled the British army ; and Hull, Decatur, Stewart, 
Porter, Perry, and others, the British navy." «* R was I who 
wrote the addres?,** is much more forcible tlian ** I wrote 
the address." I state the matter in the first instance, with 
a great deal more pontiveness than I do in the last. 1 
atate, as strongly as words will admit, that I, I alone, am 
the person who wrote the address ; while in the last, I 
state the fact in as luke warm a manner as any one could. 
You will find no difficulty in perceiving this. 

191. There are, perhaps, more errors committed in 
using the word if, than in using any ten words in our 
language. It is a convenient little word ; always, owing 
to the frequent use that we are obliged to make of it, upon 
the end of our tongue, and we consequently oflen let it 
slip when there is na occasion. Whenever we find our- 
selves at a loss for a nominative or an objective, we feel that 
we have this little word ready, and panting to be off, so 
down we clap it, and move along again as smoothly as if 
all was right. Let mo give you an example of the abuse 
of this poor little word, by two of the editors of two Phi- 
ladelphia daily newspapers : 

192. A correspondent of one of these papers desires to 
know, " which is the correct way of using the term corner 
of Broad and Vine street ; whether the last word should be 
etreet^ or atreets?*^ In reply to this question, the editor 
of one of the papers says : " The answer is readily given — 
it should be corner of Broad and .Vine street." "IT should 
be !" What should be ? what noun does this it supply the 
plaee of? why, it supplies the place of the noun anatoer ; 
and thereferp, «*tf should be," is, the «« ANSWER should 
be !" which is not at all what the editor meant. He meant 
the it to stand for the sentence. He meant to say, ** the 
answer is readily given : Ihe sentence should be, cornet 

92 8TNTAZ. 

of Broad and Vine street** Bat he sayi nothing like 
this ; and before yoa go any farther, I will just inform 
yon, that this editor is considered by some persons, one of 
the be^t granunarians in Philadelphia; that he is called by 
some of the other editors, the **■ grand judge** upon all 
matters relating to English grammai ; that he loses no 
opportunity to display his knowledge ; and that in the 
Tery first sentence following the one that I have quoted, be 
undertakes to prove by the rules of English grammar (l !) 
that his decision must be the only correct one. Here is t 
beautiful pictare ! One that I trust you may look upon 
with some advantage. The editor undertakes to correct 
what he thinks is a violation of the rules of gprammar, and 
yet, in this very imdertaken correction, there is a thousand 
times greater violation of grammatical rules, than can be 
found in what is objected to ! 

193. I have given you one of the examples, now let me 
give you the other. The same question, with the trifiing 
exception of the names of the streets being different, is 
proposed to another editor, by another correspondent 
This correspondent wishes to know '* which is the proper 
way to use the term— corner of Chesnut and Fifth streets ? 
whether the last word should be in the plural^ as above 
written, or in the singular, street ?** The editor, after com- 
plimenting the other editor, already mentioned, for his 
knowledge, replies by saying, " in this case the plural is 
correct ; but there is a similar phrase — such as in Chesnut 
above Fifth street — in which it is often used erroneously.** 
** Jt is often used erroneously ;** what is ? what does the 
it here stand for ? does it stand for phrase ? at first we 
might think that it did ; but upon reflection, we find that 
it cannot: '* there is a similar phrase, in which it is often 
used erroneously ;*' that is, '* there is a similar phrase^ in 
which phrase the phrase is often used erroneously.** No, 
no ; this would never do. Does i<, then, stand for sentence? 
Perhaps it does ; but let us see : ** there is a similar phrase, 
in which the sentence is often used erroneously.** This 
will not do, either. A sentence cannot be used in a phrase ; 
that is, as forming part of a phrase ; a phrase may be 
used in a sentence, but a sentence never in a phrase. 

pRONomcSk 93 

What, then does it stand for ? After a great deal of puz- 
zling, we at last come to the conclusion, that it must stand 
for plural ; and that what the editor wished to say, was, 
"In this case the plural is correct ; but there is a similar 
phrase, such as in Chesnut above Fifth street, in which the 
plural is often erroneously used." However, I do not 
think so much of this error, because the editor who was 
the author of it, has no great pretensions to a knowledge 
of English grammar. He does not set himself up as the 
grammatical umpire of all states north of the Potomac 
and south of the Connecticut. If he be not learned^ he is 
at least modest ; and this is more than every one is. 

194. After these two examples, I cannot press two 
strongly upon your mind, this caution : never put an it 
upon paper without reflecting fully upon what you are 
doing. There must be a noun, or pronoun, for which this it 
clearly stands, or what you write will be nonsense. 

195. We have now done with the personal pronouns. 
Next come the Relative Pronouns. You know that these 
are such as relate to nouns or personal pronouns. They 
do not stand so directly for the noun as the personals do 
but generally have an antecedent to which they relate ; and 
hence arises their name. But thi-t I have already told you 
in paragraphs 64, 65, 66, and 67, which please to see. 

196. The relative who, becomes, as you already know, 
whose in the possessive case, and whom in the wjective. 
Errors are very frequently committed by not attending to 
these variations, particularly the latter. When either a verb 
or a preposition is connected with the pronoun, the objec- 
tive case, and not the nominative, must be used. " To who 
did you give the book ? who did I strike ?" These can 
bo readily detected But, as in the case of personal pro- 
nouns, when the relatives are placed at a great distance 
from the verbs or prepositions which determine the case, 
our ear affords no assistance : •• Who, in endeavouring to 
free myself from the grasp of these men, did I strike? Who 
do you imagine the words were addressed to?** If 
we had no guide but our ear, it is likely that we would 
consider these relatives in the nominative case, properly 
used. But as we have rules, which, unlike our ear, are 


not liable to deceive us, we readily perceive th«t tliefle 
nominative relatives are wrongly employed. Place the 
verb which occurs in the first instance, and the preposi- 
lion which occurs in the second, close beside the relative?, 
and you will instantly detect the errors. " Who did I 
gtrike ? To toho were the words addressed." You see that 
in both instances whom^ and not whoy should be used. 

197. You will here have to employ your reasoning^ 
faculties, in order to tell when to say toAom, and when 
who : " Whom^ while I was endeavouring to free myself 
from the grasp of these men, struck me such a severe blow ? 
Whom do you imagine was the person whom the words 
were addressed to ?'* The first and second of these relatives 
should be who ; as, who struck me ; who was the person. 
The first must be in the nominative, because the person 
represented, is the actor, the person that does same- 
thing-, and the actor, or person that does something, is the 
nominative. The second must also be in the nominative, 
because the person represented, is the one that toas some- 
thing ; and a person that was something, or is something, 
is always in the nominative. This I have already more 
than once told you. 

1^. Nearly all writers, when they have occasion to use 
the relative after than, put that relative in the objective 
form ; as, ^ Washington, than whom ro one could be more 
firm in his purposes, or less liable to droop under the load 
of misfortunes, that were, for a time, so heavily heaped 
upon him." This whom should be who ; because it relates 
to a person that id in the nominative case, and not the 
objective. " Washington, no one could be more firm in 
his purposes, than who was, or than he was. This error is 
one which you will see every day committed ; but you 
have only to think as you write, and you will be in bo 
danger of falling into it. 

109. The relative Utat, is, as you were told in the Letter 
on the etymology of pronouns, applied indiscriminately to 
rational and irrational creatures; but it has no possessive 
case ; for we cannot say, ** the horse that leg was broken." 
And no change to denote the other two cases, as you will 
iiere see : " The horse that I kicked; and the horse that 
kicked mc. The man that I respect ; and the man that 


respects mo '* There are, however, occasioiui when tkml 
ought not to be used in the place of who or whom : ** The 
President who commenced the work of reform, and his 
successor that completed it." Better make both wAo. 
" The man that is compelled to' labour from daylight till 
dark, to obtain a single dollar ; who has a wife and several 
children dependent upon him, deserves our warmest com- 
roiseration; and yet, how many such are there that live 
around us, for whom we have no sympathy ; for whom we 
exhibit as much indifference, as if thej were stones beneath 
our feet." Much better to say who in all these places. 
That may do, in all ; but both will never do. There most 
be uniformity, or there is no beauty. As a relative, that^ 
cannot take a preposition or verb immediately before it : 
I can say, ** the person to whom I spoke ; the paper to which 
I affixed my name ;" but I cannot say, '^ the person to that 
I spoke ; the paper to that I affixed my name." I can 
also say, " having accompanied whontj I felt satisfied ;" 
bat I cannot say, *' having accompanied thaty I felt 

200. When we speak of a noun of multitude, which 
consists of rational creatures, we can say toAo, or which ^ 
as we choose. If we speak of the individuals, as such^ 
composing that multitude, we say who ; as, ** the legisla- 
ture who enacted the law, were actuated by pure motives." 
But if we speak of the multitude, as a midtitade^ that is, 
without any regard to individuality, or rationality, we say, 
** time legislature which enacted the law, was actuated by 
pure motives." We must, however, be careful to be con- 
sisitent ; we must not use both who and which as applica- 
ble to the same noun. We must not say, " the legisla- 
ture which enacted the law, and who were elected by the 
people, was actuated by pure motives." 

201. There is one exception to this application of 
which solely to irrational creatures ; and that is, where 
it is used in asking questions; as, ** which of the 
persons did it ?" You recollect that in paragraphs, 68 and 
69, I told you a good deal about who^ whose, whom, which, 
and that, when used as interrogatives. Just look at these 
paragraphs again. 

302. WhoB idativcs ue used in an interrogative form, 
and when yon are obliged to place them cuoss bksibk 
■aCH OTHER, yon ought not to observe the eonaistency of 
which I have jnst apoken ; becanae this would be highly 
di aa giee a hle to the ear. Yon moat vary the pronomia a 
little : ** Who tkat ever breathed would sobmit to snch op- 
pteaaion? What that can be urged, can be the slightest 
palliation Ibr snch a violation of the rights of man ? To 
whom timt the world ever produced, shall a freeman kneel?*' 

308. Wio9oever, le&oaesoever, whomsoetyer^ whatsoever^ 
wkichtoever^ follow the rules applicable to the original 
words. The to is an adverb ; and its meaning, when uti- 
oonnecied with ever and toAo, is, in like manner ; but here 
the meaning seems to be merged in these two words. 
Ever is also an adverb; and means, at anytime, at all 
times. These two words when joined to 10AO, as to^offoener, 
that is, whoever, therefore mean, what person at any time. 
This ezplanaticn also applies to the other four "words. 
These pronouns are trifling matters ; ones that ycu wiH 
readily understand. The dictionary will tell you the 
meaning of each word, and that is all you need know. 

been pretty well enlarged upon in paragraph 70 ; which 
just look at again. These words never change their end- 
ings. JTiie always applies to what is near us, and what is 
in the singular number. These always to what are near 
us, and what are in the plural number. TTiat always to 
what is not so near us, and what is in the singular num- 
ber ; and Those always to what are not so near us, and 
what are in the plural number. It is not likely that you 
will commit many errors with regard to these words; 
but if you do not be careful, you wUl neglect to use them 
when they ought to be used. Wishing a person to give 
you a book from among several, you may say, ** give me 
one of them ;** sounding the " them** with great emphasis. 
^Give me one of them V* them what? them books. This, 
you sec, will not do. You must say, " give me one of 
those ;" that is, those bocks. Lindley Murray, in his twenty 
first rule, gives this example: ** We are apt to love who 
love us ;" and then says, that the word ** them" should be 


l^laced after the first "love," thus : "We are apt to love them 
who love u-s." This is a great blunder in Murray. Whom 
did he wish to designate by them ? Why, persons in 
general ; any persons ; and them can never imply these. It ' 
always implies particular persons. Mr. Murray meant, " we 
are apt to love those who love us ;'* that is, those persons^ 
any persons, who love us; and not, "we are apt to lov« 
them^^ thatis,t^cm|?6rson»wholoveu9* ButifwewishtAem 
to represent particular persons. We do what is perfectly 
correct, in employing this word. For example : a woman 
has two children ; " she loves them, who are wise and 
good ;" not because they are wise and good, for she may 
love them without their being either 5 but she loves them, 
and they, without any necessary connection, happen to be 
wise and good. You see that here, the word "them" is 
employed in a sense altogether different from that in 
which it is employed in the first example. In the first, 
the former clause of the sentence is dependent entirely 
upon the latter. " We are apt lo love those who love us ;'* . 
apt to love them^ Ijecause they love us. This is the reason 
that we loVe them". But in the last example, the mother 
of the children loves them, not because they are wise and 
good ; for she would doubtless love them if they were not 
so, though perhaps not to such a degree ; but she loves 
them independent of every consideration, and they, at the 
same time, happen to be wise and good The meaning of a 
sentence, must, in all such instances, be your guide ; and 
a little reflection, will give you this meaning. We say, 
" it is a shame that they who are poor, though honest, 
are so little thought oi,^^ This is different from " it is a 
shame that those who are poor, though honest, are so 
little thought of," In the first, the meanmg is, that V'^«y» 
or a few particular persons, whom the hearer understands 
us to designate, who are poor and honest, are little thought 
of." In the second, that " those, those persons, any per- 
sons, persons in general, who are poor and honest, are little 
thought of." 

205. We now come to the INDETERMINATE PRa 
NOUNS. These were spoken of in paragraph 72. You 
see by that paragraph that they are adjectives as well as 

9g tniTAx* 

Indetermin&te PronounB; and that it is only when used 
without any noun following them, that they are to be re- 
garded as pronouns. Every, which is generally consider- 
ed one of these pronouns, is always used before a noon, 
and IS therefore always an adjective. Errors are verj 
common in the using of this word, and also in the using of 
the words each and either. It is never correct to use after 
any of these, the plural verb, or plural pronoun. If I say, 
every person, every street, or every day, I mean to be sure, 
all persona^ all streets, all days ; but I do not mean them 
connectedly r I mean them separately. 1 mean this day, 
or the next day, or the next day, or some other day ; I mean 
ANY ONE of all ; and therefore I cannot say, " every day bring 
their changes." Nor can I say, *' each of us have a book ;" 
nor, ^either of us are willing to go." In Byron's famous 
letter to D'lsraeli, in reply to an article in Blackwood's 
Magazine, I find some very gross errors of this kind. The 
great poet thw^e says ; *• With regard to Don Juan, I 
neither deny nor admit it to be mine — every body may 
form their own opinion ; but if there be any who now, or 
in the progress of that poem, if it is to be continued, feel, 
or should feel themselves so aggrieved as to require a more 
explicit answer, privately and personally, they shall have 
it." I need not correct these sentences; you yourself can 
easily do so. 

206* With the advice, that you will adhere strictly to 
the rides laid down in this Letter, and that you will always 
reflect upon the meaning of words when about to use 
thorn, I will conclude my instructions upon pronouns, and 
prepare for you a short Letter on adjectives. 



207. It would be disparaging your understanding for 
me to again tell you the purpose for which adjectives are 
employed. They are so easily comprehended, and I have 
spoken so frequently about them, that you can point them 
out as easily as I can. 


208. You know that there are three degrees of compari- 
son in adjectives : the positive, the comparative, and the 
superlative. And here is something that you most attend 
to; something that is not mentioned in any grammar book 
published : The comparative degree derives its name from 
there always being one thing compared with another, 
when the degree is used. Consequently, if you do not 
make a comparison between things when you use the 
degree, your sentence cannot be correct. It will not do to 
■ay, "Cooper is a much better writer;" because, thougph 
the degree is used, there is no comparison. We must say, 
"Cooper is a much better writer than Marryatt.*' •* The 
patriots who fought at the battle of Kew Orleans, achieved 
a greater victory ;" no comparison ; this must be, " the 
patriots who fought at the battle of New Orleans, achieved 
a greater victory than any oq record.'* 

209. When adjectives are used as nouns, they must be 
treated as such ; and must have verbs and pronouns to 
agree with them accordingly. For instance : " As the selfish 
never /pcZ the pain which they inflict upon others, they are 
necessarily always cruel." We cannot, however, use an 
adjective as a noun, in the singular number ; we cannot 
say, ** a selfish is always crueL" 

210. When two or more adjectives apply to a noun, 
there must be a comma, or commas placed between them ; 
as, " a sober, derserving man." 

211. People are often very careless in using adjectives ; 
we often hear them say, " You have a bad cold." ** What 
a greasy candle that is." " What a delightful enjoyment." 
An adjective can never be correctly used along with a 
noun, unless there be more than one noun of the kind. 
To say ** the high sky," is nonsense ; because every body 
knows that the sky is high ; besides, the expression causes 
every one who bears it, to suppose that there must be a 
low sky, or why would the distinction have been made. 
If there be but one thing of a kind, the employing of on 
adjective must always do harm. If I say, *^this is cold 
ice," the adjective is not only useless but positively inju- 
rious; inasmuch as it causes those who hear me speak, 
to suppose that I think there is such a thing as warm ice. 
So when we hear a person say, •* I have a bad cold," we 

100 STNTIZ. 

most necessarily suppose thai there is digaod cold in exist- 
ence, or why make Uie distinction. A person may have 
a severe cold, bepaose there are colds which are not severe ; 
and therefore the distinction is necessary. But to hear a 
person speak of the " big sun ;" of *^good health ;" of ** good 
moral character ;" of*''good order;" or of '* ^acf sense," 
is enough to excite the laughter of any one. Mr. Cobbett« 
in his English Grammar, talks about ** good grammar,'* 
and '* bad grammar." Why, what is grammar ? Nearly 
all grammarians in the commencement of their books tell 
us, that ** grammar is the writing and speaking of the 
English language correctly." What, then, is bad gram- 
mar ? Why, bad grammar must be " the BAD writing 
and speaking of the English language CORRECTLY ! ! " 



SI 2. You have now arrived at the most important part 
of your study ; and if you but fnlly master this Letter, 
you neod not be afraid to exhibit your writing to any 
critic upon grammar, in the land. But before you proceed^ 
if you do not thoroughly understand all that relates to the 
etymology of verbs, you had better look back at Letter 
VlIT, and read it through. 

213. Being now ready to proceed on your journey of 
instruction^ let me inform you, that there never can be a 
sentence, that th^e never can be any sense in words, 
tmless there be, in that sentence, or in those words, a verb^ 
either expressed or understood. This may appear very 
strange ; but I will presently prove it to your satis^ction^ 
Suppose I wrote a letter to you, and headed it thust 
" PfiUadelphia, January Gth, 1869 ;" would not this be a 
sentence ? aye, and a complete one, too ? and yet, where is 
there a verb in any part of this ? ** Philadelphia" is not a 
verb ; nor is " January ;" nor is «* sixth ;" nor is any of thm 

VJERBS, 101 

words, " one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine.** 
How, then, is a verb always required to make a sentence ? 
Just reflect for a moment^on this heading, and it b likely 
that you will find much more implied, than is expressed. 
You will find that these words mean, " the place in which 
I am writing this letter, is called Philadelphia ; this day t« 
the sixth one of the month called January ; and which 
month is in the eighteen hundred and thirty ninth year of 
the Christian era." So then, here are seven verbs, where 
there appeeo-ed to be none at all. " A grammar of the 
English language, in a series of letters ;" what does this 
sentence mean ? why, it means, *' this book is a grammar 
of the English language, written in a series of letters." 

214. These detached words have been great mysteries to 
many, who have been obliged to invent several new cases 
of nouns, and to exhibit these words as belonging thereto, 
in order to screen their want of discernment But if you 
only reflect a little upon the examples here given, you 
will be able to fill up with the proper words, and without 
any difficulty whatever, all such sentences. 

215. It is not often that we put in, in our speaking or 
writing, all the words which are uaderstood. We omit 
certain words necessary to a full expression of our mean- 
ing, because they are just as well understood as being em- 
braced in the other words which we use, as if we express- 
ed them; and because the omission prevents awkward- 
ness of expression. This omission, or, as it is more 
generally called, this leaving out of words, is known as 
the ellipsis, A name which is a very appropriate one, 
signifying skipping over, or leaving out. Let me give you 
a sentence wherein the ellipsis is eaUed into requisition : 
" He ffave me, yesterday, a book, which, he said, belong- 
ed to his grandfather, a soldier of the revolution." That 
is, *^ He gave to me on yesterday, a book, which, he said, 
belonged to his grandfather, who was a soldier of the 
revolution." You most be careful, however, not to make 
the sentence too elliptical ; for if you do, it will probably 
be unintelligible ; or, at least not easily understood ; thus : 
** He gave mc yesterday a book, he said, belonged to his 
grandfather, a soldier of the revolution." You readily per- 

103 SYNTAX. 

ceive that this would not do. But here is something of 
great importance to attend to : When you are examining 
a sentence, never fail to take info view the vsords which art 
left out. if jou be not certain of the correctness of what 
you have written, fill up the sentence by putting in the 
left-out words ; and then, if there be any error, you will 
easily discover it. 

216. Having given you a sufficient introduction, you 
are now ready io proceed immediately to the grand point; 
and that is, the correct using of verbs in sentences. The 
fixvt thing necessary for you to do then, if>, to obtain a 
thorough knowledge of the cases of nouns and pronouns; 
for with these cases, verbs are intimately oonLected. 
Verbs goiotm nouns and pronouns ; that is, they scraetimes 
eause nouns or pronouns to be in a certain case. Mind 
this. You know that Aouns vary in their endings only 
once (that of the possessive,) in order to denote the different 
eases ; but that pronouns vary frequently on this account. 
Therefore, to show you how verbs govern these cases, the 
best that I can do will be to take one of the pronouns and 
make use of it, in connection with a verb. I will take that 
pronoun which in the nominative case is he^ in the posses- 
sive Ats, and in the objective him. 

217* The person that is the actor ^ or doer is in the nomi- 
native case, and the corresponding pronoun to this actor^ 
or doer^ is he ; as, ** he strikes^ The person that is the re- 
ceiver of an •action is also in the nominative; as, ^he i$ 
stricken." Or, the person that is said merely to he this or 
that, is in the nominative ; as ** he is contented ;" '* he ia 
honest.'* This matter is plain, then ; but let me try to make 
it still plainer : Whenever the verb to be^or any part of that 
verb, is used, the perf on or thing that is the receiver, or 
he-erf as Mr. Cobbett says, is, and must be, in the nomina- 
tive ca$e. Recollect then, that the actor , the receiver of 
an action^ the be-er must be always in the nominative 
case; and this case is called nominative, because it is 
that state, or situation, or case, in which the person or 
thing is named, without being pointed out as the object, or 
end, of any foregoing action, or purpose ; as, •• he strikes; he 
ie stricken; he is happy." Nominative, you know, in its 

VSRB8. 103 

Qfual acceptation, means naming ; and therefore this name 
is inadequate to the purpose fol* which it is used ; for you 
see there is sotnethingr more than the mere naming of a 
noun required to denote this case. Acting and being case 
would, as Mr. Cobbctt says, be much better. But as nomi- 
native is invariably given, if we only understand what it is 
intended to imply, it is all we want. 

218. If, however, the action pass from the actor to a 
person or thing acted upon, and if there be no part of the 
verb to be used, then the receiver or endurer of the action, - 
that is, the person acted upon, is in the objective case : as, 
^ he strikes him ; he kioks him ; he injures Attn." These 
are very different from the preceding examples. In these 
you not only see an actor and the kind of action that he 
performs, but you also see the object of this action; and 
this person, that is the object of the other*s action, is of 
course in the objective case. And here is that government 
by the verb of the objective case, of which I spoke above. 
The verb here makes us use afler it the pronoun him 
instead of he. 

219. This matter of case is of great importance ; it is 
less understood by persons who pretend to grammatical 
knowledge, than any other part of grammar. And it is 
made^the first point of attack by all who are opposed to the 
prevailing system of English grammar. No grammar book 
that has ever been published contains a clear explanation oi 
the cases* I will therefore enter somewhat at large npon 
them; and I trust that everything may be settled to yonr 

220. To commence, then, I will give you what Mr. Cobbett 
says in relation to this matter, and then I will have some- 
thing to say in reply to him. He says : " I remember that I 
was very much purzled on account of these cases. I saw, 
that when *• Peter was smitten,* Peter was in the nominative 
case; but, that when any person or thing ^had smitten Peter,' 
Peter was in the objective case. This puzzled me much; and 
the loose and imperfect definitions of my grammar book 
yielded me no clew to a disentanglement. Reflection on the 
reason of this apparent inconsistency soon taught me, how- 
ever, that, in the first of these cases, Peter is merely named^ 
or nominated as the receiver of an action; and that, in the 

104 ffTMTAZ. 

latter instance, Peter is mentioned as the ohfect of the 
action of some other person or thing, expressed or under- 
stood. I perceived, that, in the &'8t instance, * Peter i» 
tmitteny^ I had a complete sense. I was informed as to 
the person who had received an action, and also as to what 
sort of an action he had received. And, I perceived that in 
the second instancej " Jokn has smitten Peter,^^ there was 
an actor who took possession of the use of the verh, and 
made Peter the object of it ; and that this actor, John, now 
'took to the nominative, and pot Peter in the objective 

221. *• This puzzle was, however, hardly f ot over, when 
another presented itself: for, I conceived the notion, that 
Peter was in the nominative only because no actor turns 
mentiwed at all in the sentence ; but, I soon discovered this 
to be an error; for I found that, * Peter is smitten £y 
Jshn,* still left Peter in the nominative r and that, if I used 
the pronoun, I nmst, say ^ he is smitten by John;' and not 
^him is smitten by Jehn.* 

222. ** Upon this puzzle I dwelt a long time ; a whole 
week at least. For I was not content unless I co^d re- 
concile every thing to reason; and I could see no reason for 
this. Peter, in this last instance, appeared to bo the object, 
and there was the actor, John. My ear, indeed, assured me 
that it was right to say, •• he is smitten by John ;*• bat my 
reason doubted the information and assurances of my ear. 

2^3. At last the little insignificant word, by, attracted 
my attention. This word, in this place, is a preposition* 
Ah I that is it ! prepositions govern nouns and pronouns ; • 
that is to say, make them to be in the objective case / So that, 
John, who had plagued me so mxTch, I found to be in the 
objective case ; and I found, that if I put him out, and put 
the pronoun in his place, I roust say, *^ Peter is smitten 
by him !** 

224. Here is a long extract And i roust say that the 
last paragraph of it, is about as poor an attempt at argument 
as any person ever made. In this paragraph, there is as 
much sophistry embodied, as could well be stuffed into the 
eompass of eight lines. Mr. (yobbett exults greatly at hie 
supposed success in finding out tlie true cause of this change 


in the cases! of satisfactorily tracing to its head, this 
mighty river of perplexity! This niajeetic stream upon 
which he had been floundering for a whole week without 
knowing where he was going, until at last he struck upon 
a particular, though "insignificant" point, and lo ! in an 
instant, he was completely master of the river's naviga^ 
tion from its mouth to its source ! 

225. Mr. Cobbett says he found a reason for theapparent 
inconsistencies in the definition of the cases. And such a 
reason! the little word »6y," the whole cause of this gjreat 
revolution in the cases! why what a talismanic word it is. 
The wand of an Egyptian magician was nothing to it ! Let 
us, however, see whether what he calls a reason can 
possibly be such. In the first place he found, that when 
"Peter was smitten," Peter was in the nominative; but 
that when •♦John had smitten Peter," Peter was in the 
objective. Well, now, let us dissect these phrases: could 
Peter have been smitten unless something had smitten him ? 
was he not, then, the object of that something's action? Of 
course. Again : " Peter is smitten by John ;" here John is 
the actor, and Peter is the object of his action. When I say 
'^John strikes Peter," fio I not, in those very words, declare 
that Peter is stricken by John ? Undoubtedly I do. And 
if I wished to state that I had smitten Peter,l could either 
say, I smote Peter, or Peter was smitten by me ; I would be 
the actor, and Peter the object, in both instances. The turn- 
ing of the words does not alter the sense in the nominative 
case, any more than it does in the possessive case ; I may 
say, "the mountain's top," or, "the top of the mountain," 
and still mountain will be in the possessive case; and I 
may say, "JoAw smites Peter," or, "Peter is smitten by 
John;" and still John will be in the nominative case ; be- 
eause he is just as much the actor in the latter instance, 
as In the former, Mr. Cobbett says that prepositions 
govern the objective case. This is no doubt true in many 
instances; but why do they govern? what reason is there 
for prepositions governing nouns and pronouns? He gives 
none ; and I do not see why they should govern when 
they do not alter the sense; I must, however, tell you that 
prepositions do not always, at any ratcj govern the o^ 

10$ 6TMTAX. 

jeetire case. For example : **George went tDith SamueL*^ 
Here is the preposition placed in a. governing situation; yet 
Samuel is notin the objective ; and for this reason: he is as 
much the actor as George is. But if I used the pronoun 
instead of Samuel, I would have to say, "George went 
with him" You will bear in mind, then, that prepositiona 
do tiol always govern the olijective case,, hu thatthey ahoayf^ 
when you have occasion to use a pronoun ^ require the objec- 
tive of that pronoun after them. We know from the mean^ 
ing of the last example given, that the pronoun is in the 
nominative; when at the same time, our ear makes it 
right to put the pronoun in the objective; for we feel that 
it would be very disagreeable to put a nominative pro- 
noun after a preposition. Sense requires that the nom- 
inative should be used ; yet sound requires that the objec- 
tive should be used ; aad we comply with the requisition 
of the latter; we sacrifice sense to sound. 

226. The only reason^ and I beg you will bear it con- 
stantly in mind, that can be urged to reconcile this dis- 
crepancyin'the defining of the cases, is this: The nomina- 
tive is the acting case, and also the being case ; and when 
both these are used in the same phrase, the being case is 
paramount to the acting one ; that is to say, the acting^€U9e 
is then dormant ; and the being case is then not only the 
nominative, but it is so powerful as to put the acting case 
into the objective, 

2'37. This is no doubt new to every grammarian: and 
you may think it a little far-fetched ; but it is, nevertheless, 
the true role for the determining of the cases. I have 
never found it to fail in a solitary instance ; and I have 
triedit upon every puzzle that I ever met with, 

228. Verbs, as I told you in the Letter on their etyrool- 
ogy, must agree in person and in number^ with the nount 
or pronouns, which arc the nominatives of the sentence; that 
is, plainly speaking, the verbs must be of the same person and 
same number that the nominatives are. You will find that 
verbs change their endings very frequently to make them- 
selves agree with their nominatives; and this being the 
case, you perceive that it is of the crreatest importance that 
you should clearly know what is the nominative of every 
sentence. To illustrate this agreement of verbs with their 

VERBS> 107 

nominatives, let me give you a few examples : suppose I 
«ay, •* Greorge love Thomas," does the sentence sound well 
to your ear? Do you not think that (here is something 
wrong about this, though you may not be able to tell tohy 
it is BO ? Look, then, at the words: ^^George," what is that? 
' noun, third permm, singular number, nominative case. 
"Zore," what is that ? verb, Jir»t person^ singular number. 
Here, then, is a dUagreefnent in person between the verb 
and nominative, and of course, the sentence is incorrect. 
It should be, *» George lovea Thomas." Againvsuppose I 
say, "George and Thomas honors Mary," do you detect any- 
thing wrong by your ear ? not so readily as before, and per- 
haps not at all ; but look at the words. George and Thomas, 
what are they? nouns, connected by the agreeing conjunc- 
tion, andf nominative case, plural number. ♦♦i/ofior»,",what 
Is that ? verb, singular number ; and of course, then, in- 
correct, because it disagrees with its nominative. The 
sentence should be »» George and Thomas honor Mary." 
These errors no doubt would be detected by most of persons ; 
but \^hen the sentences become longer, and the verb is 
placed at a greater distance from its non^native, a good 
deal more discernment is required to detect the error. In 
proof of this, I will give you a sentence from the ninth lec- 
ture of John Qutncy Adams, upon rhetoric. Speaking ot 
topics, he says : ** They were alike open to both parties in 
every controversy; which indiscriminate adaptation, together 
with thejabusesfwhich a misapplieation has oflen occasioned, 
has contributed in process of time to bring them into con- 
tempt; and almost all the modern writers upon rhetoric 
have concurred to explode them from the science." You 
see that the verb has occurs in this sentence twice. The 
first time that it occurs, it is correct; it has the noun miS' 
application for its nominative ; but where is the nomina- 
tive upon the second occurrence f There must be one some- 
where, for you know, as I have already told you, that there' 
never can be a verb without a nominative case. Look the 
sentence over a jfain, and you will find that'*»fKK«m»i inafe 
adaptation together toilh the abuses'^ (three things at least) 
of misapplication, are the nominative in the second instance. 
So that the verb instead of being in the stno^Zar, should 

108 STNTiLX. 

ha,T0 been in thejiIvrvZ. It Bhonld have been have 
instead of has. It most be, indeed, very comfortable for an 
autbor writing' npon snch a subject, as that of rhetoric, to 
be detected in an error like this ! And if such men as Mr. 
Adams commit errors of this l(ind, by mistaking the^nom- 
inative, yon may rest assured that it will require your 
greatest care to prevent you from fidling- into similar or 

S eater errors. But let me give you some more examples : 
r. Adams in his twelfth lecture on rhetoric, says, ** This 
distribution of the judicial between judge and jury, together 
with this separation of the dispensing or pardoning power 
from both, affords a copious and a profitable subject of re- 
flection to the legal student, and to the philosophical in- 
quirer into the organization and principles of our g-ovem- 
ment*' Here distribution together trith separation^ two 
things, form the nominative, and the verb to agree with 
these is put into the singular ! Afford should have been 
used instead of ** affords" It very frequently happens that 
writers make the verb disagree with the nominative, when 
a noun in the singular <»mes between that nominative and 
the verb. Take another instance. It is another sentence 
fromMr. Adams* lectures; his fifleenth: *^The comparatv:e 
importance and value of the various classes and kinds of 
knowledge IS worthy of your most deliberate inquiry.'* You 
see that Mr. Adams had the noun knowledge in his eye, as 
nominative to the verb is, instead of having there, the real 
nominative, " comparative importance and valueJ** I need 
not correct this sentence for you ; you can easily do so your- 
self. More errors are committed in this rule of agreement 
between the verb and the nominative, than in all the other 
rules of grammar pot together. In writers of the highest 
standing, frequent violations of this rule may be found; 
and in the writer already quoted, I think if I were to ex* 
amige attentively, I could find hundreds of violations. It 
is not perhaps necessary, that I should give you any more 
extracts in proof of this; but still, in order to impress more 
fully upon your mind the necessity of keeping constantly 
in view the nominative of every sentence, I will give you a 
few moi-e. In his fifteenth lecture, Mr. Adams says: "The 
eredit and the usefulness of a merchant depends at least, 

VERBS. *■ 109 

as much upon the employment, as upon the extent of his 
capital." I need not point out the error. You perceive it 
at a glance. In his sixteenth lecture, again Mr. Adams 
violates the rule \ " The blaze of passioD) the bolt of indigi. 
nation, flash with incessant energy from his controversial 
speeches and pablications ; but the tone, and character of 
his sentiment IS invariably generous and benevolent." 

229» You here see what a Professor of Rhetoric, who 
was aflerwards President of the United States^ can do ! 
You here see how easy it is ioprtfeas knowledge^ and yet 
not to possess iU You here see a person making bhmde'rs 
in an art, which is the principal spring from which the 
very art which he undertakes to teach, rises ! 

330* This rule of agreeiQcnt is so iYnportant, that not- 
withstanding I have said a great deal on it, and given you 
a great many examples, I feel constrained to continue my 
instructions, a while longer. I have quoted some of the 
writings of one ex-president, and I will now quote some of 
the writings of another. The individual whose writing I 
am about to notice, is a man of whom I entertain the most 
exalted opinion. A man whose name must be forgotten, 
only when our country itself is fi)rgotten. A man who is 
the most remarkable one of the 19th century. I mean 
Andrew Jackson. The piece of writing which I will quote 
is a letter from the (at that time) president^ to an influential 
citizen of the city of New York, who had presented him 
with an ever-pointed pencil, manufactured by Mr, Henry 
Withers, of that city : 

" Washington, 26th Dec. 1836. 

231. Dear Sir: — The beautiful pen and pencil so inge- 
niously and elegantly blended with the case of gold which 
forms the handle, presented by you in behalf of Mr. Henry 
Withers of New York, IS received by me with a grateful 
sense of the affectionate feeling expressed in the inscription. 
The many marks of kind regard of this sort by which the 
agriculturists, artizans and artists, have indicated their at- 
tachment to me, have deeply impressed my heart, and add 
the force of kindred sympathies to the respect and confi- 
dence which I have ever cherished for the producing 

110 SYNTAX. 

classes. With them RESTS the well balanced intelligence, 
the UDCootaminated domestic vittoes, the disinterested pa- 
triotism and mascular energy, which, embodied, CONSTI- 
TUTES the livirtg and active republicanism of the land ; 
without this, our theories of free government would be a 
dead letter, soon to be overgrown and lost, under false con- 
structions and practical abuses in the administration. 

232. ** I am obliged to you for the fhvorable manner in 
which you speak of some of my late public measures, 
which the pure and intrinsically valuable material of the 
useful and beautiful present you render, gives occasion to 
introduce, as you seem to think, not inaptly. 

233. ** The useful ond ornamental purposes to which 
gold can be applied, are the properties that give it real 
value, and render the demand for it universal. 

234. ^ This, with ather peculiar qualities, hare made it 
in all ages, throughout the world, the standard of value. 
'Hiere is no fraud in gold ; like the honest principlesof the 
producers of our government, who declared by constitu* 
tional provision, the precious metals to be the only money 
of the republic, it is unchangeable and will do its office 
every where, and at all times ; no alchemy can multiply it ; 
no chartered privileges can give sudden and unseen expan* 
sion or contraction to its amount. Nature has set limit?, 
and labour imparts an invariable value to it. It is, there- 
fore, the true representative of the principles of justice and 
equality, which should enter into every thing that operates 
on our institutions, and should ever be insisted on by the 
industrious classes as the actual circulating medium^to 
bring continually to the test, every species of credit cur« 
rency, and to suppress the spurious paper system, resting 
on no solid basi5^ and giving birth to frauds and stock gam* 
bling $ whieh TENDS so much to estrange our people from 
honest and useful pursuits^ and our legislature from that 
primitive patriotism which was once entirely directed to 
foster THEM." 

235. In commenting upon this letter, the editor of the 
Public Ledger, declares, that "as a literary production, 
it is very well written ; " and no doubt hundreds and 
hundreds of persons, relying upon the editor^s knowledge 


and judgment, believe his declaration to be true. But tbose 
who take the mere assertion of a person without examin. 
ing, are, in almost all cases,' in the wrong. Those who ex- 
amine for themselves, are nur more likely to be correct in 
their opinions, and to have more clear ideas of their sub. 
ject. So we will just examine fox ourselves and sec what 
the~result will be : 

236. B^gin the letter again,, and when you come to the 
first is, stop, and look for the nominative to that verb. You 
find that nominative to be, ** the beautiful pen and penciV* 
two things ; and of course,, then, the verb should have been 
in the plural number ; should have been are^ Read on at 
the letter till you come to the verb reeUy and then look for 
the nominative. You find it to be, ^ the well balanced in. 
telligence, the uncontaminated domestic virtues, the disin^ 
terested patriotism and muscular energy ^" five things^ at 
least ; and of course, the verb should have been in the plural; 
should have been rest. Read on again till you come to 
*^ constitutes j''^ and then look for this verb's nominative. 
You find it to have the same nominative that the verb 
rests had; and therefore ^^constitiUes" should have been 
constitute. Read on again till you come to **^M8,." and then 
look what noun, this pronoun supplies the place of. You 
find that it supplies the place of, or stands for, the words 
which were the nominative to the two last verbs ; for " the 
well balancad intelligence,, the uncontaminated domestic 

. virtues, the disinterested patriotism and muscular energy" 
of the land. So that this " this" should have been these^ 
according to the rule which req[uires the pronoun to be of 
the same number and same person that the noun for which 
it stands, is. 

237. Now read the second paragraph ; this contains no 
positive errois in grammar; but it is not well written ; it is 
not by any means euphonic,, and the sense is too obscure. 

238. The third paragraph will do, though nothing to brag 
ot ; but how do we find the fourth ? We find it commencing 
with another this. Now, what noun does this pronoun stand 
in the place of? Look again at the third paragraph and 
you will find that this pronoun, which is singular, stands 
in the place of'* useful and ornamental purposes !' So here 
we hav3 another glaring violation of the rule last mentioned. 

lis SYNTAX* 

939. Read on, now-, till you come io^ **and to suppress the 
spurious paper system, resting on no solid basis ; and giving 
birth to frauds and stock gambling; which tends^*^ and then 
ask yourself what ** tends T* What noun this pronoun re> 
lates to ? As the sentence reads, the " which'* certainly 
relates to '^frauds and stock gambling ;" three things, at 
least ; and therefore, the verb should have been tend. But 
the author did not intend which to relate to ^ frauds and 
stock gambling ;** he intended it to relate to ** spurious 
paper system." What he intended to say was this : ** and 
to suppress the spurious paper system, resting on no solid 
basis, and giving birth to frauds and stock gambling; a 
system whidi tends so much to estrange our people from 
honest and useful pursuits**' 

S40. Now read the two remaining lines : "and our legis- 
lation firom that primitive patriotism which was once entire- 
ly directed to foster them," To foster whatt what noun or 
nouns does this pronoun them stand for ? does it stand for 
legislation or patriotism ? We would think it did ; though it 
agrees with neither; and more«jver, seems not to convey any 
very sensible idea, if standing for either of these. Well, 
where, then, is the noun for which it does stand ? By a 
good deal of searching and reflection, we come to the con- 
elusion that the author meant this pronoun to stand for 
"honest and useful pursuits;'* though if we went according 
to the wording of the sentence, we would now arrive at 
this conclusion. To be correct, this them must be changed 
to these pursuits, 

241. I think you are, by this time, pretty well convinced 
that all who are held up to view, as good writers, do not 
folly merit what they receive ; and that you ought never to 
take the opinions of any one upon the merits of a writer 
without examining for yourself. In this letter of Presi- 
dent Jackson, I have merely pointed out the violations of 
the rules of grammar. There are defects in if, which do 
not exactly belong to grammar ; and which, therefore, I 
deem it improper to notice. Throwing grammar altogether 
aside, the sentiments and principles promulgated, are 
worthy of the venerable man from whom they come ; and 
I trust that the reading of the letter will be profitable to 
you in more than one sense, 


242. If^ however, there be two or more nouns separated 
by or^ which is a disagreeing conjunction, the verb mu«t 
not be in the plural ; as, *^a man, or a woman, who is never 
contented unless he, or she be at a ball, or a party, or in a 
large company of some kind, is a very poor member of 
society." You see that only one person,, or one thing is 
spoken of; and, therefore, the verb has to be in the 

243. Sometimes the nominative will be formed by two or 
more nouns, or pronouns, which are of different numbers, 
or diiferent persons ; and having^ tlie conjunction or be- 
tween them. For example : ** The governor^ or hi* coun^ 
sellors,^ Now, when this happens, a verb cannot be u^ed 
that will agree with both nouns. We cannot say, **>the 
governor or his counsellors have committed an outrage 
upon the rights of the citizens j" because hane would not 
then agree in number with governor ; nor can we say, has, 
because the verb thus used would not agree with counsellors. 
Therefore, in all sentences where nominatives of this kind 
occur, we must repeat the verb after each noun ; thus : 
** the governor Aas, or his counsellors have^. committed i^n 
outrage upon the rights of the citizens." This prebabljr 
does not sound so well as does the first manner of writing 
the sentence ; but surely no one would ever sacrifice cor^ 
redness (except in the instance of the cases, already men-t 
tioned,) to sound, 

244. When or comes between nominative nouns ai]td pro^ 
nouns which are in different persons., the same verb cannot 
be used to apply to each noua and pronoun. We cannot 
say*/* I), or they, or Thomas is mistaken in the calculations 
made ; they, or I am going ; he, or you are nearest to the 
door." Errors of this kind,. I know, are very often com- 
mitted by good writers. They should not, however, on this 
account, be the less avoided. They are decided errors,^ and 
no matter what authority may sanction them, should 
always be looked upon as such. You may not perceive 
their grossness at first; but just fill up the sentences, and. 
see what work you have: ** I ^, or they is, or Thomas im 
mistaken; they am, ot 1 €m going: he ore, or you a^e 
nearest to the door." 


114 SYNTAX. 

34«>. When the disagfreeing conjanction, nor, comes be- 
tween nouns and pronouns which are nominatives, the fin>t 
rule relating to or, must be followed : as, ^^neither Samuel 
nor Charles voas here last night;" ^* neither he nor Thomas 
has written." And should nominatives of ditTerent num. 
bers, or of different persons occur, the other rules relating* 
to or^ must also be followed. We cannot say, " neither I 
nor George is entitled to the praise ;'* we must say, "neither 
am I, nor is George, entitled to the praise." Nor can we 
say, ** no tyrants nor tyrant, no matter how powerful, has 
ever received support at my hands." The wording must be 
changed so as to avoid this violation of rules. We must 
say, " support at my hands, has never been given to any 
tyrants or tyrant, no matter how powerful. 

246. A noun of multitude, such as society, congresSy 
crowds is sometimes a nominative ; and when so, the verb 
relating to it, may be used either in the singular, or in the 
plural ; we may say, ** Congress have passed some bene- 
ficial acts ;" or, **Congress has passed some beneficial acts;" 
but we must be uniform in our use of the verb; we must, 
not use the singular in one place and the plural in another, 
as applicable to the same nominative; we must not say, 
« (congress ha?, this year, passed some beneficial acts; but 
har>e wasted a great deal of time in doing nothing." We 
must use have in both places, or has in both places. 

247. Some grammarians assert that ** tlie relative is the 
nominative, when no other nominative comes between it 
and the verb." This is an assertion that is not only un« 
true, but it is one that, if believed, may lead to the most 
injurious consequences. **W^o has come? Who luixe 
come ? lie who teas here ; they who were here ; who is to 
speak? wAo are to speak?" Vou see that in all these in. 
stances, there is ** no other nominative coming between 
the relative and the verb," and consequently, according to 
the rule, who must be the nominative to each of these verbs. 
Now, if who is the nominative, why do the verbs change 
so much? Why is has used in one place, and have in 
another ? was in one place, and were in another ? t* in one 
place, and are in another 7 The reason of the changes is 
this : who is not the nominative, and the verb disregarding 
this pronoun passes it by and goes to the real "nominative. 

TKRBS. 115 

which this pronoun is the relative of^ and adapts itself to 
the number and person of that nominative. ^^Who lias 
come ?" iS) what person has come ? **Who have come ?" is 
what persons have come ? " He who was here ;" is, the 
person who was here* •' They who were here," is, the per- 
sons who were here. '* Who is to speak ?" is, what person 
is to speak ? ^Who are to speak ?" is, what persons are to 
speak '/ As a proof that the relative is the nominative 
when no nominative comes between that relative and the 
verb, Mr. Murray gives this example : " The trees which 
are planted." Now, if this relative is the nominative, the 
verb will still be the same, no matter what noun is placed 
before the relative ; and, consequently, to say, " the tree 
which are planted," is just as correct a& any other mode of 
expression I It was extremely short sighted in Mr. Murray 
to give what he here has given ; for any one can in a 
moment see, that as soon as the noun which precedes the 
relative is changed, the verb must be also changed, no 
matter what the relative may be: "the tree which is 
planted ;" " the trees which are planted." Be careful, 
therefore, to recollect iha.t who, or which, or that, is never 
of itself a nominative ; but that it only relates to such 
nouns, or personal pronouns, as are in the nominative. 

248. It is somewhat difficult to tell in what number the 
verb should be, when one noun follows another, and the 
word with intervenes ; thus : *' The stable, with the horses 
in it, was burned." Now, here we scarce^y know which 
to empioy ; was or were. If we mean to say that the stable 
alone, was burned, then was is correct ; but if we mean to 
say that the horses, also, were burned, then were is correct ; 
our judgment must, in all such cases, be our guide. Some 
persons may say, that v>as, as here used, can never be cor- 
rect; inasmuch, as if the horses were in the stable at the 
time it was burned, they, of course, must have been hurned, 
too. But suppose there are two stables ; suppose that one 
stable has horses in, and the other has not ; and that yoa 
wish to designate which of the stables was burned ; then 
would it not be correct to say,**^ Ae stable with the horses in 
t^ (and not the stable having none in it) was burned?** 
Certainly it would. This matter is of some importance ; 

116 SYNTAX. 

and I will, therefore, give you a few mora examples ; 
•* Decatur with Hull, have humbled the British navy." 
This is correct ; for we mean the two have. Hull is there 
a co-operator^ an aBsistant^ and the vorh must therefore be 
in the plural. But if Hull were a mere instrument, then 
the singular verb would have to be used ; at^,"Decatur, with 
the Constitution, has humbled the British navy." ** She, 
with her mouth and with scissors, cuU beautifully." " She, 
with her needle, supports herself." *' He, with his pen, 
contrihuUs largely to the advancement of the good cause." 
With^ when signifying along withy together with, and the 
like, is nearly the same as and; and consequently re- 
requires the plural verb after it. ** Jackson, with his army, 
have completely vanquished the British." **Over banking, 
with reckless speculation, /orm one of the greatest curses 
that ever a free country endured." •♦ Honesty, with intel- 
ligence, make a man beloved." 

349. Sometimes several nouns and pronouns are used in an 
acting capacity, and yet the verb is not made to agree with 
them; as, " Dyott, Levis, and Ellis, defrauding the poc» of 
their hard earnings,toas villanous in the superlative degree." 
What was ? why, this defrauding, by Dyott and the others. 
It is the act of these persons^ and not the persons them- 
selves, that is the nominative to the verb. 

250. As there never can be an action without an aefory 
a movement without a mother, or a state of being without 
something in that state of being, of course there never 
can be a verb without a nominative ; because, verl>s are 
used, merely to express the actions, movements and states 
of being, of nominatives. This fact should be borne in 
mind ; for manjr errois are committed by wot attending to 
it. **^The President, you will be rejoiced to hear, is 
recovering his health rapidly. Walked out, yesterday, and 
was much pleased.**' The first verb, is, has a nominative 
in Pretident; but where is the nominative to the verb, 
walked, and liie verb, was ? I may be the nominative, as 
much as the President, It may have been I who walked 
out and was pleased ; pleased at seeing the President in 
such a recovering state. Or it may have been the Presi- 
dent himself who walked out and was pleased ; pleased 

with what be saw, or with the walk. There is no certain- 
ty who is meant. The verb walked^ should have had Af, 
or /, inunediately before it ; and then all yro^^i have been 

251. You are certainly by this time thoroughly 
acquainted with the powers of the nominative; and there- 
fore ready to pass on to other matters. But if, by any 
possibility, you do not understand all that you have read 
in this Letter, turn, by all means, immediately back and 
read every word over; because, if you: be not fully master 
(^ all that this Letter contains, you will never be able to 
write and speak correctly, no matter how great your 

252. Verbs never vary their endings to make them- 
selves agree with the objective case ; and therefore nothing 
need be said Concerning it. 

253. Neither has the posaetsive case any thing to do 
with verbs ; but you must be careful not to look upon it 
as a nominative case. " The appearance of some books, 
which are called English grammars, are such as to deter 
many persons from commencing the study of the art 
treated of." Appearance is the nominative to the sec^ond 
are, and therefore is should have been used. Books, that 
is, the word books, is in the possessive ; as, " the appearance 
of some books," or, some book^s appearance. " This kind 
of goods are high ;" should be, is high. 

254. While upon this possessive case, I may as well 
give you an instance of error relating to it, from Mr, 
Cobbett^s French Grammar : *^ Idleness is the nurse cf 
vice." *' Here," says Mr. Cobbett, '*we see that vice is the 
object, the end, or the effect^ of something done or felt by 
some other person or tiling, which is in the nominative 
case." Now, vice is not here in the objective case. 
It is in the possessive: *\IdIenes8 is the nurse of 
vice ;" that is, ** Idleness is Dice's nurse" The latter 
jform of the sentence gives precisely the same meaning as 
the former; and therefore there can be no doubt of vice 
being in the possessive case, notwithstanding the preposi- 
tion of precedes it, and according to the rule already 
given, governs it- Prepositions in general, govern nouns 
and pronouns^ but of^ when it does not mean concerning^ 

118 8TNTAZ. 

or about, that is, when it means possession, is an exoep 
tioa to the rale. The noun which follows of, is in all 
snch instances, in the possessive case ; notwithstandin|f 
the pronoun if used, would have to be in the objective 
form ; as, " the hat of himJ*^ Htm, is, you know, the third 
person singular, objective case ; yet yoju surely would not 
say that the noun represented by this pronoun, was really 
in the objective case ? No, you could not. " The hat of 
him" is, purely, **Aw hat." Him is put after of, on account 
of the sound, and nothing- else. 

255. There is another mistake In the example given by 
Mr. Cobbett Vice is not the effect of idleness, according 
to the reading of the sentence : ^ Idleness is the nurse of 
vice:" that is, idleness is the fosterer^ the nurturer of 
vice. It is not the cause of vice ; it is the mere protector 
or encourager of vice. If the phrase had run, ** Idleness 
is the mother of vice," then idleness would have been the 
cause, and, of coarse, vice the effect, 

256. Having given you all the information relating to 
the persons and numbers of verbs, that is necessary, you 
are now prepared to commence the study of the times. 
Of these, as I told you in the Letter on the etymology of 
verbs, there can be but three : the past, the present, and 
the future. Some languages have more times than these. 
The French, for example, has two past times : ** Les dames 
de le congregation furent les plus maltrait^s, leors dortoirs 
ayant ete renverses, pendant qu' elles etoient a complies." 
In English this is, ** The nuns of the congregation were 
the most roughty handled, their dormitories being shaken 
in, while they were at evening prayers.** You see, the 
French verb is in one place furent, and in the other etoient ; 
while our verb is in both places were. It is therefore ne- 
cessary in French to make a distinction, and to call the 
first the past perfect, and the other the past imperfect time ; 
but it is follyio make any such distinctions in English, 
were no variation occurs. 

257. Bearing in mind, then, that there are, (excepting 
the easily understood compound times,) but the past, the 
present and the future, let us come directly to matters re- 
lating to these. An error frequentiy committed, is the 

VERBS. 119 

using of what may be called the double past time; that is, 
the past time repeated, instead of the past time alone; as, 
** I expected to have heard a good sermon this morning." 
This IS an expression that may be heard every day. But 
let us dissect it, and see what it is made of: ** I expected ;" 
when ? why, it must have been some time past, say yester- 
day; well, "I expected yesterday to have heard,''^ when? why, 
of course this "have heard" carries you back to some day 
previous to yesterday. So that the sentence, then, means, 
** I expected yesterday, to have heard, sometime previous ^ 
a good sermon this morning ! f This is^ of courscy very 
Une ! The sentence should rim, •* I expected to hear a good 
sermon, this morning." " To expect" is always to look 
into the future ; you can never expect a thing that you 
know is past, " I expected to have toritten to him last 
evening ;" no, " I expected to write to him last evening." 
You recollect that I quoted to yon in the Letter on the 
syntax ofj nouns, and also in the Letter on the syntax of 
pronouns, parts of the speech of the Indian Chief, Logan. 
I will now give you the remainder of that speech, as 
you are now sufficiently advanced to understand what I 
may have io say. I will commence with the sentence 
following the one last given in the Letter on pronouns. 

258. " During the course of the last long and bloody 
war, Logan remained idle in his cabin, an advocate for 
peace. Such was my love for the whites, that my coun- 
trjmen pointed as they passed, and sait^ * Logan is the 
friend of white men.' I had even thought to have lived 
with you, but for the injuries of one man : Colonel Cresap 
the last spring, in cold blood, and unprovoked, murdered 
all the relations of Logan, not even sparing my women 
and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the 
veins of any living creature! This eafled on me for 
revenge, I have sought it ; / have killed many ; / have 
fully glutted my vengeance. For my country, /rejoice at 
the beams of peace ; but do not harbour a thought that 
mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will 
not turn on hia heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn 
for Lo^an 7 — Npt one." 

130 SYNTAX. 

359. Now l«t us look for « moment at some of these 
sentences. ^^Ihad even thought to have lived with yoif«" 
Here is what I mcDtloned to you a few minutes ago : a double 
past time; which happens to make— not exactly sense. To 
illustrate this matter let us fix upon a time : " I had thought,^' 
a ye^r «^e, ** to have lived with you," some time b^ore ! 
What ! **• had thought yetterday^ to have done eonuthing 
the day before I " This is the meaning of the words ; and 
this is not Eufrlish. It may be very good Indian : that is, 
Miogo, Choctaw, or Chickasaw ; but it will never do to be 
the adopted language of civilized Americans. 

S60. From the first word of the speech, (look at para- 
graph 1650 ^^ ^6 <^lo8e of the second eentence^ the Indian 
3iief figures as the third person ; then he becomes the 
firelt person, and ccMitinoessucb, for nearly two sentences! 
then he becomes, again the third person, and then imme. 
diately after, again the firet, and continues such, until 
within four sentences of the conclusion, when he again 
beeomes the third person, and continues such to the end. 
There is here no positive error in grammar,but there is bad 
taste exhibited ; there is two much affectation of variety ; 
two much transposition ; two much jumping from the tonic 
to the third, and from the third back to the tonic, as musi* 
clans would say. 

261. The speech to be grammatically correct, though, 
pethaps, less forcible, and certainly less pompous, must 
irun, *^ I appea^io any white man to say, if ever he entered 
my cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat. If ever he 
eame cold and naked, and I clothed him not. During the 
course of the last long and bloody war, I remained idle in 
my cabin, an advocate of peace. Such was my Iqve for 
the whites, that my countiymen pointed as they passed, 
and said, * Logan is the friend of white men.* I had even 
thought to live. with you, but for the injuries of one man: 
Colonel Cresap, the last spring, in cold blood, and unprok- 
ed, murdered all my relations, not even sparing my women 
and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the 
veins of any living creature ! This called on me for 
revenge. I have sought it ; I have killed many ; I have 

yXRBS. 121 

fiilly glutted my vengeance. For my country, I rejoice at 
the b^ms of peace ; bat do not harbour a thought 4bat 
mine is the joy of- fear. Logan neycr &lt fear. He will 
not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to 
mourn for Logan? — Not one." 

262. Closely connected with the timeSy are the partici- 
ples. These, you know, are the active and the passive. 
The former ends always in ing ; and the latter generally 
in ed. These participles with the help of the verbs to be 
and to have, as I stated to you i/i the Letter on the etymolo- 
gy of verbs, in paragraph 115, (which please to look at) 
form the compoand times ; such ap, I am writing ; he has 
written; they were speaking; it was spoken. When the 
active participle of any verb is used along with the past 
time of to be, it signifies the same as if tbe past time alone 
of the verb, were used; excepting that when the participle is 
used, something else is supposed to occur, or to be going on 
at the same time, or that there is some circumstance of ac 
tion, or of existence collateral with what is expressed by the 
participle. For example : '*I was writing, when he entered; I 
Was riding, when I saw her ', it was freezing, while we swam; 
they were dancing, while J was p'aying ; I had a head- 
ache, while I was working,^' 

263. I have already told you that the active participle is 
sometimes a noun, as ^* walking promotes health;" some- 
times an adjective, as, " a walking child ;" and sometimes 
a verb, as, " the child is walking,^* As a noun, this parti- 
ciple may be in the nominative, in the possessive, and in 
the objective, cases ; as, " walking promotes health ; the 
practice of toolking ; I admire graceful walking," It 
may be in the singular, or in the plural ; as, "the writing 
of a book is not a difficult matter ; the writings of Thomas 
Jefferson have done much good." Articles and preposi- 
tions have, of course, to be used with it, just as they are 
with nouns. 

264. Tbe passive verb must never be confounded with 
the passive participle. The former is composed of the 
latter, and some part of the verb to be ; that is to say, the 
verb to be, or some part of that verb, and the passive 
participle^ form the passive verb, Tbe two have the Eame 

123 SYNTAX. 

form, exceptingr that with the passive participle some part 
of the verb to have is used, and with toe passive verb some 
part of the verb to be : " I have stricken," is the passive 
participle ; *' I am stricken," is the passive verb. Passive 
jNirttci^Ze implies that there has been action, but that it 
is over ; that the person who performed the action is then 
passive, though he has been active. Passive verb im- 
plies that the person is the receiver of the action, but not 
in any way the actor ; though every passive verb is derived 
from an active verb ; and though every active verb may 
become a passive. ' Neuter verbs, however, can never be- 
come passive ones ; and for this reason : In neuter verbs, 
though there may be action, the action never passes to any 
object, and not passing to any object, of course it can never 
be received or endured; and if the action be not received 
or endured, the verb can never be passive. Conseqijently, 
you instantly see that no neuter verb can ever become pas- 
sive. This fact must be plain enough to you ^ but still let 
me give you an example in confirmation of it: To lie, is 
neuter ; now, can we, in any way, make this verb passive ? 
can we say, " he is lain ; I am lain ; we are lain ?" no, 
these would never do ; and what holds good with respect to 
this verb, will held good with respect to every other neuter 
verb in the language. "We are come to the place, at last." 
Tliis will not do ; because to come is a neuter verb* and 
cannot he made a passive, as it here is. The are should 
behave; a«, '* we have corner" because there is action im- 
plied. We are net the reeeivers or endurers of that action ; 
we aie the actors, and the action is confined to ourselves. 
"They are arrived;''* this must be, " they have arrived ?" 
for arri-ved is neuter, A neuter verb is one which ex- 
presses a state of being ; and also one which expresses an 
action that does not pass from the actor to any object. 
Mind this. A neuter verb, moreover, cannot have a noun 
or a pronoun in the objective case immediately after it. 
Mind this also. We cannot say, " I spoke him ;" we must 
say, *' I spoke to him." A preposition you see, must fol- 
low a neuter verb thus used. 

265. Recollect, however, that there are some verbs 
which are, in one sense neuter and in another 8ense,.acttve; 

VERBS. 123 

and that accordingly, such verbs may sometimes he passive. 
For instance, the verb to clears when it means to grow^ 
bright^ or fair 1 is neuter ; " as, the weather has cleared up, 
but is very cold." In this sense, this verb cannot become 
passive ; we cannot say, the weather, is cleared up. Bat 
the same verb when it means to make bright^ to free from 
dullness^ or obscurity^ is active ; as, " He cleared the 
subject of the mystery that enveloped it." In this sense, 
tlie verb may become passive ; we may say, ** the subject 
toas cleared of the mystery that enveloped it." 

266. Now while I think of it, I will say somelhing about 
a new form of using the verb io be and the passive parti- 
ciple. Formerly people said, "the house is building;^* 
and the expression was thought lo be correct enough. A 
few years ago, however, the late Wrn. Leggett, of New- 
York, originated another form of expression, which, not- 
withstanding it has met with a great deal of opposition, 
has now almost entirely superseded the old form. He 
maintained that instead of saying,** the house is building,** 
we should say, ** the house is being built,''^ I never saw 
his arguments, or those of any one else, in support of this 
innovation; and therefore whatever I may urge, though it 
may be similar to what he urged years ago, is just as now 
with me, as if Mr. Leggett had never written. 

267. ** The house is building ;" well, what is the house 
building ? The house is building nothing. The house is 
not the actor } it is the object acted upon. It is the mcie 
subject of the actions of some individuals who are, of 
course, the actors. They are building ; building the house ; 
and consequently the house must be being built. In the 
phraee, *• the house is building," the verb is given an active 
capacity, where it should be perfbctly passive; and this is 
the cause of the error. We say, '*the sun is shining," 
correctly enough ; because here the nominative, sun, is 
doing something; and we could not say, "the sun is being 
shined;^^ as if the sun was the mere object of the act of 
shining. The object of the action of some other person 
or thing, can never have the active participle used in con- 
nection with it ; because this participle is used, only when 
the nominative is the actor, or when, at least, the nomina.i 

124 SYNTAX. 

live t» not the reeeiwr or endurer of an action. For ex- 
ample, we could not say, ** the fortress is undermining ;** 
because, then, the fortress would be made tho actor ; when 
oommon sense teaches us that it could be nothing' more 
4ba« the object of an action. " The fortress is undermin* 
ing ;'* no, no ; some person or thing: ia undermining it; and 
it therefore^' is being undermined." When the \crb is a 
neuter one, the active participle is correctly employed; as, 
** the water ib Jlowing; the man is sleeping; the house ia/oU- 
ing ; the horse is walking*' But when the verb is an active 
one, and when we know that the noun which is its nomi- 
native, is not the actor, but is merely the object acted upon ; 
then the active participle can never be correctly employed. 
For example: "the battle is being fought; the enterprise 
is being executed ; the property is being sold ; the song ia 
being sung,** These would be horrid if altered tOf ^ tbe 
battle is^ghting; the enterprise is executing ; the property 
is selling; the song is singing** Recollect, then, that the 
using of the active participle always implies an action, or 
a state of existence on the part of the nominative; and 
that accordingly^ this participle must never be used when 
the nominative is merely the receiver of the action of some 
other person or thing ; but that the passive participle and 
beings must be used in all such cases. 

268. The past time of a verb must never be confounded 
with the passive participle, or with the passive verb. ** I 
struck,'* is the past time ; " I have stricken,** the passive 
participle ; and '* I am stricken** the passive verb. When 
the verb is regular, there can be no errors committed in 
these three forms ; because then, you know, the past time 
and passive participle, are written in the same way ; as, 
** He loved, he has loved,** But when the verb is irregu- 
lar, that is, when the past time and passive participle are 
written differently, errors without number, are committed; 
0,9, ^'hc spoke for an hoar, he has spoke for an hour.** 
** He came home ; he has came home.*' Be on your guard 
for errors of this kind. Make yourself master of the past 
time, and passive participle of each irregular verb, as given 
in the list, of irregulars, in Letter Vill, and there will be 
Bo danger that you will ever speak or write the one or the 
other incorrectly. 

TERB8. 125 

369. People oflen make a wrong use of the passive par- 
^iple of the verb to do. This participle, you see by the 
list, is done. One person will often say to another, *• wbo 
done that job of work ?" and the other will reply, •* why I 
done it.** These dones should both be did. The past time, 
and not the passive participles, is required. " I done a 
great deal for hiro." '* He done nothing, for months." «* I 
done it all, myself." Hundreds of expressions like these, 
are made use of every day, and yet they are all wrong. 
Some will say, " He did not deliver the address last night, 
so well as he wished to have done." This have done should 
be to do. The error is one of time. What was meant, was, 
that the person did not deliver the address, last night, so 
well as he wished to do, at that time ; or so well as he 
wished to do it, at that time ; or so well as he wished to 
deliver it, at that time. 

270. To dOf meaning to perform, or to execute, is an active 
verb; and can never, in any of its fbrms, supply the place of 
a neuter verb. We cannot correctly say , though it frequent- 
ly is said, "I did not sleep so well as I wished <a do;^' that 
is, so well as I wished to perform, or execute the act of 
sleeping!! The verb must be repeated in all such cases; 
thus : "I did not sleep so well as I wished to sleep." Per- 
sons often say, " I feel much better than I would have done, 
if I had not taken the medicine ;" that is, much better than 
I would per formed, or executed the act of feeling! 

271. Take care,, however, not to confound do. and did, 
as parts of a principal verb,, with the same words, as parts 
of an auxiliary; for do and did, as auziliarks, are used 
with neuter, as well as with aciine verbs ; but it is not their 
business, when used with neuter, to supply iJte place of other 
verbs ; they then merely add strength to what is affirmed 
or denied, or mark the time : as, " I did sleep well lost 
night ; I do not feel much better." Done, however, which 
is the passive participle of the active verb to do, can never 
be an auxiliary. Mind this, for it is of importance. D6 
and did are auxiliaries as well as principals ; but done is 
always a principal. 

272. I have now given you all the information that is 
necessary, with regard to the numbers, persons, and Hmes. 

126 SYNTAX. 

There yet remain to be noticed, the modes. These I will 
briefly refer to; and yoa will then, I trust, he able justly 
to call yourself a master »f English grammar : The in- 
Jinitive mode has, in nearly all respects, the powers of a 
notffi : "7© reflect improves the mind.** "To die is not so 
difficult** In these instances, ihe infinitive is the nomina- 
tive. " To worky to walky to bathey promote the health of the 
human system." Here the verb in the plural number, is 
made to a^«e with the infinitive, exactly as it would be with 
the noun. It cannot, however, b3 mg^de a plural, like a noun 
can ; that is, by adding «, or es to the singular. Rut it may 
be in the objective case ; as, **I love to skate,** ** He desires 
to ride:- 

273. The imperative mode is of very little importance. 
What I have said concerning it in Letter VIII, paragraph 
94, is sufficient. The indicative and the subjunctive modea, 
however, are of importance, and must be attended to. 
The indicative mode, is used when an action, a movement, 
or a state of existence, is required to be mentioned without 
any other action, movement, or state of existence^ being* 
dependent thereon ; when the action is stated positively; 
when there is no doubtfulness about the matter; when 
there is no connection that can make one action a condition 
or consequence of another. For instance : " He strikes ; 
he U)rites well.*' But there may be a subjoined circumstance 
dependent upon this striking and writing ; and if so, these 
verbs must be in the subjunctive mode ; as, " if he strike 
us, he will be sorry for the act ; if he write well, he is in- 
debted to no one for his knowledge." In these instances, 
there is an uncertainty with regard to what the verbs ex- 
press ; we do not know whether he will or will not strike 
us ; nor do we know whether he can or cannot write welL 
He may do both ; or he may do neither. And owing to 
this uncertainty, we drop the s at the end of each verb ; 
we say strike instead of strikes ; write instead of writes* 
What we mean, is, " if he should strike us, he will be 
sorry for the act ; if he should, or may, or can (any of the 
signs) write well, he is indebted to no one for his know- 
ledge.y This is the whole secret of the subjunctive mode ; 
there is always a sign in this mode, either expressed or 

vkUbs. 127 

understood; and Buch being the fact, you instantly see 
tbat you could not put the « after any verb, when a sign 
preceded it; thus: "If he should strikes us; if he can 
tcrites well." Pay great attention to these observations, 

274. All verbs, excepting the verb io fce, have always the 
same form in the present time of the indicative mode^ that 
they have in the present time of the subjunctive^ in the 
first person singular, and in all the persons pluial. The 
only difference in the modes, Jies in the second and third 
persons singular. We say, in the indicative, **/ strike^ 
you strike, we strike^ they strike ;" and in the subjunctive 
we say the same ; but in the second and third persons of 
the indicative, we say, thou strickesfy he strikes ; while in 
the subjunctive, we say, thou strike, he strike; that is, 
thou mayesty or mightest, .or couldest, or wouldest, or 
shouldest strike; he may, or might, or could, or would, or 
should strike. Recollect then, that in all verbs excepting 
the verb to be, there is no difference of termination on 
account of mode, but what is here stated. This verb to be, 
however, varies its form more than any other in our 
language. The present time of the indicative of all other 
verbs, in ))oth numbers, and in all the persons, except the 
second and third singular, is just the same as the infinitive 
mode, excepting that the word, to, precedes, and is part of 
the infinitive. For example : to love, to hope, to fear ; 1 
love, I hope, I fear; or, we love, we hope, we fear; or, you 
love, you hope, you fear ; or, they love, they hope, they fear. 
But the verb which varies so miich, is in &e infinitive, to be, 
and in the present of the indicative, / am, thou art, he is, 
we are, you are, they are. These are, indeed, great varia- 
tions. And as the subjunctive in both its numbers, and 
all its persons, takes the infinitive mode, this verb, to fte,will 
illustrate our object in the clearest manner. Instead of 
saying, lam, thou art, he is, we are, you are, they are, we 
must say in the subjunctive, / be, thou he, he be, we be, 
you be, they be; that is, / should be, or may be; and 
BO forth. Just look back at the conjugation of 
to he, in paragraph 116, and you will better understand 
what I tell you. You see that in this verb there is a past 
time of the subjunctive, different from the past time of the 

138 SYNTAX. 

indicative* This is a matter of importance, and I charge 
you to pay attention. This is the only verb in the 
language that has such a difference. In all other verhs,- 
the past time of the subjunctive is exactly the same as the 
past time of the indicative; as, 1 had^ I thought ; if I had, 
if I thought. But in this verb, in the indicative, we say, 
/ tea*, he was ; and then in the subjunctive, if I viere, if 
he were. 

875. Knowing now the difference between the indica- 
tive and the subjunctive, and knowing also the circum- 
stances under which the latter is required to be used, you 

^are prepared to proceed at once to matters of practice. 

276. T^ most of grammarians declare that some con- 
junctions, such as if, though^ unless, except, and whether, 

. g-occrn Dcrfts, in the subjunctive mode ; that is, force them 
to he in that mode. Though, at the same time, these per- 
sons declare, that verbs, when following these conjunc- 
tions, are not always in the subjunctive mode ; but are 
sometimes in the indicative. NoWy why do conjunctions 
govern in some instances and not in others ? The gram- 
marians assign no reason ; and the truth is, that none ever 
can be assigned. How can we say that in "if Wellington 
he dead, his death is a small Toss io mankind,,'* the con- 
junction governs ; but that in "if Washington is dead» he 
lives in the memory of every American," the conjunc- 
tion does not govern? If it governs in the former instance, 
why not in the l^ttei: ?• Aye, why ? The fact is, that a 
conjunction never governs the mode of any verh. The 
sense, and nothing but the sense, of the sentence governs 
the verb. We say,, "if Wellington be dead, his deatk 
is a smaH h}8s to noankind,^ because there is an uncer-. 
tainty with regard to his death. We do not know 
whether he be dead or not. Perhaps he is, perhaps 
he is not*. And, we say, " if Washington is dead, he lives 
in the memory of every American,** because there is no 
uncertainty with regard to his death. We know positively, 
that he is dead. We coul.d say in the former instance, 
" if Wellington should or may be dead;" but we could not 
say in the latter, " if Washington should or iiwjf he dead.*' 
Thus you see that the conjunction if, has nothmg to do 
witli the government of the verb. 


977. Some peraonB pretend to eaj that thete coajime* 
tions themselves, imply eonditionalily. This is a very 
silly assertion ; for we have seen in the paragraph above, 
that in if there is no conditionality whatever, implied ; 
and what holds good with regard to tf, will hold good with 
regard to every other conjunction known. Let me give 
you a few examples in proof of this : ** Ihough Henir 
Brougham is very talented, he is not to be compared with 
Henry Clay." Here is though used, and yet Uie verb is 
not in the subjunctive mode ; and the reason is, because 
there is no uncertainty about what is expressed. ** Though 
he be very talented, he will not master grammar, unless he 
be attentive.*' You see, here is A«, instead of ts, in two 
places; and the reason is, because we do not know whether 
he be talented or not; or whether he will be attentive or not. 
There is a sign understood before each be ; as, ** though 
he may he very talented, he will not master grammar, 
unless he ahotild be attentive." This mode must be, by 
this time, plain enough to ^ou. And I have now nothing 
to do, but to give you a few instances in which the rules re. 
lating to tliis mode, are violated. 

278. George Gordon Byron, in one of his letters, (letter 
DXXXVII, I>earbome*s edition) says, **I do not know 
that I am addressing a clergyman ; but I presume that 
you will not be affronted by the mistake (if it is one) on 
the address of his letter." 

279. Hero is the indicative, which is the positive mode« 
used, when the writer himself <dcclare3 that he is in doubt, 
with regard to the calling of him whom he is addressing. 
Of course, the subjunctive must be used in order to make 
the sentence correct ** Yon v;ill not be affronted by the 
mistake, if it be one ;• that is, " if it should be one ;" and 
not if it should is one." 

2dO. At last we corno to tlie end of this Letter. A Letter 
which is, by far, the most important in tliis book. A Let- 
ter, every part and every word of whicb» must bo read) and 
re-read. Do not be satisfied with one, or two, or three read- 
ings of it. But read it, and read it, until you arc pcr£;ctly 
master of all it contain?, even if you have to do so, a dozen 
times. The value of the knowledge, and the pr^e and 

130 STNTAX. 

self approbation resnliiod^ horn the possession of this knowl- 
odge, will doublj compensate you for the time, and at- 
tention, and labor given. 



281. Yoa know what adverbs are. Yovl know that 
they are used to express something in addition to ail that is 
expressed by the nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns. 
But in order to refresh your memory with regard to this 
part of speech, just turn back to Letter IX, and read what 
yoo there find. 

282. It frequently happens that several words form onij 
one adverb; and that these words separately considered, 
are nouns, adjectives, prepositions, and other parts of speech* 
For example .' *'He writes very /orciMy; or, he writes with 
great force" ** He is, candidly speakings or, to ^>eak with 
candour, or, if I apeak with candour , a writer I very much 
admire." Here, the words following or, express precisely 
the same meaning that those preceding it do ; and therefi>re, 
notwithstanding there are prepositions, and adjectives, 
and nouns, and verbs used, they all go merely to express 
one adverb. The rules relating to the verb agreeing with 
its nominative, and the pronoun agreeing with the noun, 
and all other rules already laid down, continue in force, and 
must be as thoroughly attended to, when an adveib of the 
kind just given, occurs, as under any other circumstances. 

283. It may appear very strange, that one adverb will 
embrace words which belong to several parts of speech ; 
but yet it is so. I have never found any difficulty, what- 
ever, in parsing sentences in this way ; and I feel assured 
that no difficulty can arise. Unconnected, the words be- 
long to the parts of speech that their already defined ety. 
mologtcal functions cause them to ; but connected, so as to 


form one maw, or whole, they are merely an adverb. Ad- 
verbs are used for the purpose of clearness, of explanation, 
of acUin^comprehensirenese, to what is stated. In the 
three examples last given, the adverbs, *^ very forcibly^* 
" candidly speaking ** and ^ very tnueht** explain, and add 
to what is expressed by the other parts of speech. We 
might leave out these adverbs, and say, *^lie writes;** ^1m 
is a writer I admiie ;*' but the sentences would not he. so 
clear, and not so satisfactory. 

384. Hundreds and thoosands of errors are committed 
by firood writers, in using the adjective instead of the ad* 
verb; particnlarly when a comparison is made; thus: 
** The horse ran swifter than I ever knew him to.*' '* He 
8te heartier than he does commonly.'* **^She speaks leader 
than he." ** He works steadier than he used to«" Now, 
these sentences, every body, even writers of grammars, 
would say were correct. There is no grammar book ex- 
tant, that takes any notice of them. But nevertheless, all 
the italicised words are misused. They are adjectives of 
the comparative degree ; and no adjective is ever correctly 
used to express the manner of an action, which is the pur- 
pose for which these are here used ; for they express the 
manner of the running, the manner of the eating, the 
manner of the speaking, and the manner of the working. 
Adjectives are. used to express tlie quality, property, ap- 
pearance, and the like, of the noun. The word, siot/l«r, 
must, therefore, be changed to more swiftly ; the word, 
heartier^ to more hearixfy ; the word, lander^ to more XoUd- 
ly ; and the word, steadier, to more steadily* If you always 
bear in mind \he proper functions of the adjective, and the 
adverb, you will never commit this every hour error. 

M Correct tniTiNcr. 



885. These two parts of speech never vary their end-^ 
inga; are not controlled by any other parts of speech, and 
have been so fVilIy explained in the Letters on the etymoU 
ogy of prepositions and conjunctions, and in the Letters 
on the syntax of noons, prononns, and verbs, that nothing 
more need be said, except just refering you back to the 
first named o£ these Tictters. Before I conclude my in- 
structions, I will give you a few examples of errors in 
these parts of speech ; not because I think you need them, 
ibr it cannot be that you are not fully master of these 
trifling affairs ; but because I wish to show, that trifling^ as 
they are, writers of reputation sometimes misuse them, 
and by their example misJead others. 



286. Now, my young friend, you have finished ycur study 
of the rules by which you are to construct sentences. But 
there are a few things yet to Icarn. These, however, if 
you reflected at all, common sense would teach you, even if 
you had no knowledge of pframmar : " The people will not 
no longer submit to such dictation. They will not no longer 
be deluded by the cry of party." These very expressions 
1 heard made use of by a speaker when addressing a meet, 
ing of several hundred citizens. To such an orator, the 
perusal of this book will be the most profitable employ- 
ment of time that he can possibly determine upon. It will 
have a tendency to make him think ; and this is a matter 
that he seems to have considered entirely beneath his 
notice ! *• The people will tio not longer ;" that is, they 
wU longer r for you know that there can be but •*Joiig*r," 


and " no longer;'' and if the people will not have the "no 
longer," of course they must have the •* longer." ** I can't 
find no mistake ;" that is, / Jind a mistake ; for there are 
but ^mistake,'' and "no mteiake;'' and if I cannot find 
the latter, I must necessarily find the former. " He has'nt 
nothing." Now you know that there can be but oome- 
thing^ and nothing; and this being so, the person must 
have one or the other; if he has not *• nc^iog," then he 
certainly must have " something." 

287. ''Go up above;'' ''go down below;*' and even '^ascend 
up above;" and "descend doum below" are expressions 
that we frequently hear ; but these arc on a par with " a 
deaf and dumb mute that could not hear nor apeak." *• Go 
up," and ** go down,' are quite as perspicuous as they can 
be made. " Band of music," too, is a phrase that is almost 
invariably used to designate a company of instrumental 
musicians. But it is not correct. Music is what thia band 
produces. It is not the band itself; or what it is compos- 
ed of; and we can just as properly say « a band g£ robbery ;" 
**a band of smuggling ;" " a company of painting ;" " a 
company of poetry ;" " a party of singing ;" or, «» a club 
of authorship." *» A band of musicians^" or, " a musical 
band," is correct. 

288. In fi^rurative language, a great many errors are com- 
mitted. " The course of true love never did run smooth." 
The course of a river or stream, is the direction of it ; and 
&w indeed, would say, the direction of a river runs smooth. 
The great mass would say, " the current runs smooth ;" 
or *• the course runs straight;" and therefore the sentence 
ahould be, " the current ofiinQ love never did run stnoofA;'* 
or, ** the course of true love never did run straight." 

289. These are some of the things which I mentioned that 
common sense would teach you. But there are some other 
matters which it is important that I should speak to you 
concerning : Figurative language, as I have already told 
;fou, is employed to give strength and elevation to onr 
ideas: |' Give me liberty, or death!" This is a forcible 
expression; but it is much improved by clothi^ig it in figu- 
rative language: **Let roe rest in the temple of freedom, 
or sleep in the cavern of death !" Here you have two 
strong and just figares introduced. Wbftt ca;i b^ more 

134 \ OORKICT WKiriNG. 

d«Iightfiil than the thought of resting one's weary limbs 
io a oommodioQS temple, reared in the midst of perpetual 
▼erdttre, and snrronnded by life, peace, and prosperity. 
And this is but a simile of a free government. How tnie 
it Is, that her citizens enjoy all these blessings ! To build 
up such a temple, in which to find shelter frum the rays of 
the burning sun, and to enjoy the beauty of the prospect, 
tiie fireshness of the air, the invigoration of surrounding 
animation, and the salubrity of the whole scene, seems to 
be the first, if not the only object of social existence. But 
in contrast with all this, what can be more gloomy, or more 
calculated to fill the soul with despair, than the thought of 
sleeping foreyer in a cold, damp, black, and unexplored 
cavern ! Oar mind here conjures up everj thing that ie 
horrid. The cold sweats of death standing in drops upon 
us ! the loathsome worm crawling over us \ the hungry 
cormorant screeching for oar flesh ! But even these, 
great as may be the abhorrence of them, our revolutionary 
nthers, rather than not secure the object which they con- 
sidered they were placed here to accomplish, preferred, to 
living under the roof of oppression, mighty though it is, 
with the reproaches, perhsps the curses, of their fellow 
citizens following them to the end of time ! 

290. In making use of figures, you roust be very cau. 
tious, or you will be led astray ; and instead of writings 
what you think reaches the sublime, you may be writing 
that which sinks to the ridiculous. '* How many a human 
being now lives whose feeble light is glimmering in the 
socket of mortality, soon to be extinguished by the ehiUing 
puff of fiite 1" This may wund tolerably well ; it is quite 
sifiootA; but it will not bear examination: ** Whose /eeMe 
light is glimmering;^ now, if the light be/eeMe, of course 
it mustgZtmmer; it cannot shine resplendently; and there* 
fere, this part of the sentence is senseless. ** Soon to be ex- 
tinguished by the ehiUing puff of fate.'* This approaches 
the ridiculous. Fate, as here invested with the functions 
of life, is supposed to be rough, boisterous, and unpitying ; 
and to say that the blast of such an all sweeping ruler, is a 
••genUe wind," is rather laughable. And then, too, the 
light oflife is not only extinguished, but it is ehiUed and pi«- 


vented from barninjgf as brightly as before ! Thai b, ** tli« 
man was not only kiUed^ but was crippled forever after I** 
Alter ** feeble,'* to uaning light; for many things gMm* 
mer which are not waning; the light of a candle, at first 
glimmers, but it is not then waning. Leave out ** Qhilling^'* 
and alter "puff" to gust, and the sentence, will be correct, 
vigorous, and lofty. ** How many a human being now 
lives, whose waning light is glimmering in the socket of 
mortality, soon to be extinguished by the gust of fate !*'— 
This is good ; but the idea may be extended, and, in force, 
improved. And this liberty of extending an idea, is allow- 
ed, if clothed indifferent language, in order that the writer 
may the more fully accomplish the object he has in view ; 
and the object, in this instance, is, to excite pity for suffer- 
ing' humanity. — ** How many a fellow creature is now tot^ 
tering upon the brink of Oblivion, while the frosts of Adver- 
sity are falling heavily upon him, soon to send him, a 
human icicle, to the mighty Gulf below ! How many ▲ 
Child op Virtue, but an Heir of Misfortune, now 
breathes^ to whom the northern blast must be the embalm- 
ing tincture, and the snows of the coming year, the wind- 
ing sheet r" 

291. Enough is here given, to show you the power of 
figurative language, and the necessity that exisis for care 
in employing it. And I have now nothing more to do to 
finish my instructions, than to give you some specimens of 
bad writing from some of the best authors. 



** It is usually observed that a good reign is the only pro- 
per time for makitig of tawsJ** — Spec, Jvo. 98. 

** Is the only proper time for the making of laws," or, 
•« is the only proper time for making laws*'* the sentence 
should stand. 


136 nouLTiima or thk 


•* Of these sort of men."— iS^ec. No. 49. 

•• Sorts,*' f need hardly tell you this should be. 

** The case of my correspondent, who sends me the fol- 
lowing letter, has somewhat in it so very whimsical, that I 
know not how to entertain my readers better than by lay- 
ing it before them." — Spec, No. 596. 

•* iSiwwcwHAT" will do, in some instances, to supply the 
place of someTHitiQ, as, ** this is somewhat of an error ;** 
but it will not do in this. ** Has something in it," is 
alone correct- In this extract there is another error : 
•*Thecfl«e of my correspondent, who sends me the fol- 
lowing letter, has something in it, so very whimsical that 
I know not how to entertain my readers, better than by 
laying it before them." What noun does the first " ««" 
supply the place of? "Case." And what noun does the 
second «* t*" supply the place of? •* case," again. So that, 
the sentence as written by the author, is, ** The case of 
my correspondent, who sends me the ibUowing letter, has 
something in it so very whimsical that I know not how to 
entertain my readers better than by laying his case before 
them ;" which is not what the author meant. He meant 
the last "if" to stand for "Zc««-." 


** There are so many gratifications, attend this public 
sort of obscurity, that some little distastes I daily receiye» 
have lost their anguish." —Spec. No. 4. 

** There are so many gratifications attend ;" this 
ought to be, " There are so many gratifications tohich 
attend." Or, the first two words of the sentence ought to 
be omitted; as, "so many grratifications attend this 
public sort of obscurity." 

" I shall endeavour to point out all those imperfections 
that are the blemishes, as well as those virtues which are 
the embellishments of the sez."--*S^. No. 10. 

Here ^ is an error which I endeavoured to guard you 
against in the Letter on pronouns. It is not one of gram* 
mar ; but one of taste ; it is an afifectation of fine style ; 
but instead of elevating^ it degrades the sentence. 


^ " A furbelow of precious stones, a hat buttoned with a 
diamond, a brocade waistcoat or petticoat, are standing 
topics. In short, they consider only the drapery of the 
species, and never castaway a thought on those ornaments 
of the mind that make persons illustrious in themselves, 
and useiid to others."-— iSJpec. No, 15. 

" They consider only the drapery of the species ;*' who 
are they ? why, **a furbelow of precious stones, a hat but- 
toned with a diamond, and a brocade waistcoat or petti- 
coat !" things certainly prodigiously prone to ** consider- 
ing V How nonsensicaUy persons write from not paying 
attention to what they are doing. The writer meant by 
** they^" " ordinary women ;" who are mentioned in the 
fourth sentence, and in no other, above the first one here 

**I think it was Caligula, who wished the whole city of 
Rome had but one neck, that he might behead them at a 
blow."— ^jpcc iVo. 16. 

By " whole city of Rome," is meant all the inhabitants 
thereof; and these when considered individually, are 
plural ; but when considered collectively, as forming one 
mass, are singular ; as, ** the city of New York is more 
enterprising l^an any in America ;" and not ** the city of 
New York are more enterprising ;" though we mean the 
inhabitants are more enterprising. So that to say ** it was 
Caligula who wished the whole city of Rome haid but one 
neck, that he might behead it at a blow," would be better 
than as the sentence now reads; though to say, **that he 
might sever it at a blow," would be better still ; and to say, 
^ it was Caligula, who wished the whole city of Rome 
had but one neck, that he might behead the mighty mass 
at a blow," would be much the best of any. 

** I do not mean by what I have here said, that I think 
any one to blame for taking due care of their health."-— 
Spec. No. 25. 

" For taking due care of his health," it should be. 

'* It is, in my opionion, a very odd spectacle, to see a 
qaeen venting her passion in a disordered motion, and a 
little boy taking care all the while that they do not ruffle 
the tail of her gown."— -i^ee. JVb.42. 


Phmoons, yoa know, mast agree in number and person 
With the nouns for which they stand. Now, for which 
noun or nouns, does "M^," in the above sentence, stand. 
For ** disordered motion,*' a lingular number ; and there- 
fore **they,'* plural, should have been it ; or, *Mn a disorder- 
ed motion,*' should have been changed to, " in disordered 

** The boy of the coffee-house, when they had done with 
it, carried it about in his hand, asking every body if they 
had dropped a written paper; but no body challenging it 
he was ordered by those merry gentlemen who had perus- 
ed it, to get up into the auction pulpit, and read it to the 
whole ro(«n, that if any one would own it, they might." — 
Sptc, iVo. 46. 

•* Every body,*' or " any one," means, one individual of 
many; as I have explained in the Syntax of Pronouns; 
and of course, then, they^ in both the instances, should be 

" Such was the pleasure which Germanicas enjoyed, 
when, the night before a battle, desirous of some sincere 
mark of tho esteem of his legions for him, he is described 
by Tacitus listening in a disguise to the discourse of a 
soldier, and wrapt up in the fruition of his glory, 
whibt with an undefined sincerity, they praised his noble 
and majestic mien, his affability, his valour, conduct, and 
success in war."— ^^ec. No, 238. 

** They praised ;" who are they ? a soldier. This, of 
eourse you see, is wrong. Th<U soldier should occupy 
the place of ** they.^* The whole sentence, however, does 
not appear to be very well put together. It would be better 

**Sach was the pleasure which Grermanicus enjoyed, 
when, the night before a battle, desirious of some sincere 
mark of the esteem of his legions for him, he is described 
by Tacitus, wrapt up in the fruition of his glory listen- 
ing in a' disguise to the diseourse of a soldier, who, with 
an undefined sincerity, praised his noble and majestic 
mien, his afiability, and his valour, conduct, and sttccess 
in war-" 


^ The entire conquest of our passions is so difficult a 
work, that they who despair of it.** — Spec. No. 71. 

^ It is an uncontested maxim thaf they who approve an 
actioD.'* — Spec, No, 451. 

7%08e, these ^'' they 8,''* should be; because persons^ any 
personf, are meant; and it would not do to say, they 

** Will Honeycomb is one of those sort of men who are 
verjr absent in conversation !*' — Spec, No, 77. 

That ** sort" is correct 

"Apart of rhetoric in which Socrates his wife.*' — 
Spec Nb, 247. 

This is a vulgar error. "A part of rhetoric in 
which Socrates* wife,** or, " the wife of Socrates," must be 
the correction of the sentence. 

^ " I£^ say they, the soul is the most subject to these pas- 
sions at a time when it has the least instigations from tbe 
body, we may well suppose she will retain them after she 
is entirely divested of i*.*'—- jSjpec. No. 90. 

Here is confusion, and consequent unintelligibility. 
What is meant by the first " it ?*' "the soul.*' Very well; 
what is meant by " she ?** It cannot be the soul, again ; 
for that was called only the line above, ** it;*' and no one 
who had a particle of taste, would make such a transition. 
By ** she,*' must therefore be meant " body." And what 
is meant by " it,** at the dose of the sentence ? This too, 
of course must be ** the soul.** And the sentence thus 
understood, will read, ** If, say they, the soul is the most 
subject to these passions at a time when it (the soul) has 
the least instigations from the body, we may well suppose 
she (the body) will retain them when she (the body) is 
entirely divested of it.** (the soul) This is the reading; 
and thu is superlative nonsense. This makes out the 
matter, that the body will retain after death, the passions 
which it, in connection with the soul, had in life ; which is 
the contrary of what was meant 

The sentence should read, *• If, sa^ they, the soul is the 
most subject to these passions at a time when she has the 
least instigations from the body, we may well suppose she 
will retain them when sho is entirely divested of the 


^ At the instant when Pfaocion wm to die, they aiked 
what commands he had for his son 1 he answered, *• To 
forget this injury of the Athenians.' Niocles, his friend, 
under the same sentence, desired he might drink the potion 
before him: Phocion said, because he never had denied 
Mm any thing, he would not even this, the most difficult 
request he had ever made. — Spec. No. 133. 

Here is great confusion, indeed. It is almost impossible 
to tell who is meant by the numerous hea and hinM 'Em- 
ployed. *^Nioc]es, his friend, under the same sentence, 
desired he might drink the potion before Aim.'* Who are 
the persons these ptonouns represent 7 One might think 
that Phocion was the first and Niocles the second ; thus : 
Niodes, his friend, under the same sentence, desired that 
Phocion might drink the pction before he did. But the 
reverse of Uiis was meant. " Phocion said, because he 
never had denied him any thing, he would not even this, the 
most difficult request he had ever made." For whom do 
these pronouns stand. One might again thtnk that the first 
stood for Niocles, and the second for Phocion. This is 
quite plaasable. We might readily suppose that as Niocles 
had never denied Phocion any thing, Phocion would not 
deny him this, even though above all requests, the most 
difficult to grant But this is the opposite of what was 
meant. The sentences should be, ** At the instant when 
Phocion was to die, those about him asked what com* 
mands he had for his son ? he answered, * to forget this 
injury of the Athenians.' And when Niocles, his friend, 
under the same sentence, desired to drink the potion first, 
the noble Athenian replied, that as he never had denied 
Niocles any thing, he would not even this, the most difficult 
request his friend had ever made." 

** Though a pleader or preacher, is hoarse or awkward, 
the weight of their matter commands respect and atten« 
tion."— iSJpcc. No. 141. 

Hm, you perceive, this ouj^ht to be; for ** pleader oa 
preacher," is the noun for which the pronoun stands. 

**But let it be a comfort to you, that I have no guilt 
hangs upon me, no unrepented foUy that retards me.'* 
^Spee. No. 204. 

Em.E8 OF aftAMMAR. 141 

This pronoun tkat^ is required between ** guilt*' and 
" hangs ;** as, " but let it be a comfort to you, that I hare 
no guilt that hangs upon me*" 

" I have heard of a couple of preachers in a countr j 
town, who endeavoured which should outshine one 
another^ and draw together the greatest congregation."— 
Spec. No. 221 

»*One another*' should be the other, 
" Besides poverty and want there are other reasons that 
debase the minds of men who live under slavery, though I 
look on this as the principal." — Spec. No. 287. 

Here is the pronoun "this," made use of; and of 
course to supply the place of some noun. Now, which is 
the noun that it supplies the place of? By examining, you 
will find that there are two nouns, "poverty and want," 
represented by " this." These^ then, the pronoun should 
have been. 

My mistress has a younger sister liveo in the house with 
her, that is some thousands bdow her in estate, who is con- 
tinually heaping her favours upon her maid ; so that ohe 
can appear every Sunday, for the first quarter, in a fresh 
suit of clothes of her mistress's giving, with all other 
things suitable.** — Spec. No. 366. 

This extract contains several kinds of errrors. " My 
mistress has a younger sister lives in the house;'* should be, 
- " my mistress has a younger sister who lives in the house ;" 
or, "my mistress has a younger sijster /mn^ in the house." 
" T^at is some thousands, below her in estate, who is con- 
tinually heaping her favours on her miid.'* Here is that 
want of uniformity and taste, which I spoke of to you 
in the last Letter on pronouns. Here is " thaV used in 
.ixie part of the^ sentence, and " to^o," in another, when 
both relate to the same noun. " So that she can appear 
-^very Sunday." Who can appear ? We find by what fol- 
: lows •• Stmday," that the maid is meant by *» she." But 
if the sentence had ended at " clothes,** we might reaso- 
nably enough suppose that "she" stood for "younger 
sister ;'*^ because, if this " younger sister" was »« contin- 
ually*' giving away her clothes, she must certainly have 
procured ** ilresh" ones *' to appear in, every Sunday." 


The sentence would have been better thus: "My mis- 
tress has a yonnger sister who lives in the house with 
her; and who, though some thousands below her in estate, 
is continually faeai»ng favours on her maid ; so that the 
latter can appear every Sunday, for the first quarter, in a 
fresh suit of clothes, with all other things corresponding, 
of her mistress's giving.** 


** A rusty nail or a crooked pia^ahoot up intojMOiltgtes.*' 
— Spec, No. 7. 

**Sho9t8y** this should be; for the nominative is in the 
singular; and of course, then, *^into prodigies,** should be 
into a prodigy, 

" One may see by bis action that his greatest core and 
concern is to keep the plume of feathers from falling off 
his held,**— Spec. No, 42. 

What is the nominative to "is?** **Care and concern,*' 
and therefore the verb should be are, 

^ A good courtier's habit and behaviour ts hieroglyphical. 
— Spec. No, 64. 

The error here, is similar to the preceding one ; ** habit 
and behavioar are^^* the sentence should stand. 

** Every now and then Sir Roger inquires how socfa 
a one's wife, or^ mother, or son,, or ftther do."— 
Spec, No, 112. 

The nominative is in the singular ; and the verb, of 
course, must be so, too ; must be does, 

** Th& reception^ manner of attendance^ ttndieturbedfree- 
dom and quiet^ which I meet with in the country, kaa 
confirmed me in the opinion I always had."— iljpire. 
No, 107. 

Here the nominative is ** receptkn, manner of atten- 
dance, undisturbed freedom and quiet; ^nr things; 
and the verb to agree with these, is put in the singnlar ! 
Have was required. 

*' The many adventuree which attend their way of lift, 
makes their conversation so full of incidents, and gtM* 
them so frank an air in speakiog.'*^— iSjpec. No, 152. 


The plaral noun *a adventarep,*' is the noiDinatiT«; and 
therefore makes and gives should be make and give,. 

**^ A yoimg man whose pasnon and ambition is to he 
good and wise." — Spec. No, 157, 

» Passion and ambition" are the nominative ; and the 
verb should correspond with these ; ehould be are, 

** The stamp and denomination still continues^ bat the 
intrinsic value is frequently lost.*' — Spec, No, 219.. 

"Stamp and denomination*' are Uie nominative; and 
the verb should agree with these ; should be eontinvc 

»* A thousand rumours sjyreado?^ — Spec, No, 220. 

'^ Spread^'"' of course, this must be ; for the deuce is in 
the thing, if " a thousand ' are not enough to make a 

'* Sir, the subject of this present address, are a set of 
women." — Spec, No. 244. 

**Subjccl' is the nominative, and the verb should be 
made to agree with this ; should be is. 

** A few general rules extracted,out of the French authors, 
with a certain cant or words, has set up an illiterate heavy 
writer for a most judicious, and formidable critic*" — Spec. 
No. 291. ^ ^ . 

Here the writer is denouncing another writer for bemg 
" illiterate," and at the same time is using words that 
prove him to be as justly liable to the charge, as the indi- 
vidual accused : « A few general rules has ;" " a certain 
cant or words ;" ^' illiterate heavy writisr," are certainly 
choice specimens of correct writing I 

^ But youth and beauty ^ if accompanied with a graceful 
and becoming severity, is of mighty force to raise, even 
in the most profligate, a sense of shame." — Spec, No. 292. 

if ou have had so many examples of the wrong employ, 
ment of the singular number of the verb, when applying 
to a plaral nominative, that I need not point out to 
you the error in the above extract 

»• But injured innoceMte and beauty in distress w an o6- 
ject that carries in it something inexpressibly moving; it 
softens the most manly heart with the tenderest sensations 
of love and compassion, until at length it confesses tts hu- 
manity, and flows out into teare.— ^pw. No, 302. 

144 vioiATiMm or ths 

This paragraph is oiu ififfss of error. "Innocence and 
beanty** are certainly two things. And if so, *' is" should 
have been are; *' an object,** should have been o6;€^; 
** that carries in t/,** should have been, that carry in tkem; 
and ** it softens" should have been, they soften. ** A con- 
f esses its homanity," appeared to me, when I first read 
the paragraph, to stand for, and apply to, whatever the 
pronouns and verbs, previously used, did; and it was not 
until I had read the whole over two or three times, that I 
discovered ** it confesses its humanity,** to mean the heart 
**■ confesses its humanity.** Obscurity like this, weakens 
the force of a sentence very much, and should be carefully 
guarded against The extract would have been better 
thus: **Bat injured innocence and beauty in distress, form 
an object that carries in it something inexpressibly moving ; 
an object that softens the most manly heart with the ten- 
derest sensations of love and compassion, until at length 
the fountain of the affections confesses its humanity, and 
flows out in teaw.'* 

** Since the regular methods of making friends and a 
fortune by the mere force of a profession is so very slow 
and uncertain, a man should take all reasonable opportu. 
nlties, by enlarging a good acquaintance, to court that time 
and chance which is said to happen to every man.** — Spec. 

•• Regular methods is," " time and chance is" you csm 
correct without any assistance from me. 

** The several presses which are now in England, and 
the great encouragement which has been given to learn, 
ing for some years last past, has made our own nation as 
glorious upon this account, as for its late triumphs and 
conquest8.'*--fijpec. iVb. 367. 

Yon see that the verb ** has," has for its nominatiTe, 
**the sereral presses, and the great encouragement;*' and 
that therefore, have was required in place or *• has." 

** Truth and matter of fact sets the person aotinJIj be- 
fore us."— iSiper. No. 397. 

" Sets," having •« truth and matter of fact," two things, 
for Its nominative, should be, «««. 


" I am an Irish gentleman that have travelled many 
years for my improvement; during which time, I have 
accomplished myself in the whole art of ogling, as it is 
at present practised in the polite nations of Europe." — 
Spec, No. 46. 

Here is confusion in the persons : ** An Irish gentleman 
thai have" is what very few, indeed, could say. It sounds 
badly ; and the " have" seems to apply to " gentleman," 
and not to " I." To place Ao«, however, in 3ie place of 
"have," would make the matter much worse; for then we 
would have, *' an Irish gentleman that has travelled many 
years for my improvement ; during which I have accom- 
plished myself." The sentence should run, " I, who am 
an Irish gentleman, have travelled many years for my im- 
provement." Or, '* I am an Irish gentleman ; and have 
travelled many years for my improvement." 

"And you may believe it, when so lazy a creature as I 
am, undergo the pains to assure you of it." — Spec. No. 284. 

What is the nominative to tliis verb, " undergo ?" It is 
" creature ;" third person ; and the verb to agree with this 
is put into the first person ! Undergoes must be substituted 
for " undergo." 

** A modern writer that had observed how this had took 
in other plays." — Spec No. 44. 

" She had just drank tea."--5|p«c. No. 87. 

"Can youthen neglect him who has forgot" — Spec. 
No. 71. 

" There have arose in this university." — Spec. No. 1 7. 

" A new sect of philosophers which have arose." — Spec. 
No. 54. 

" He had not broke windows." — Spec. No. 105. 

In all these instances, the past time is used instead of the 
passive participle. " Had taken ;" " had just drunk ;" 
"has forgotten;" "have and has arisen;" "had not 
hroken;" are the corrections. 

" I am so surprised at the question you were pleased to 
ask me yesterday, that 1 am still at a loss what to say to 
it"— ^c.A'b. 401. 

Here is an error of time. " I am so surprised that lam 
Btill at a loss what to say," should be, " I was so surpris- 
ed that / am still at a loss what to say.'* 


If a man tells her a wagish story, she gWes him a posh 
with her hand in jest, and calls him an impudent dog; and 
if her servant neglects his business, threatens to kick him 
out of the house. — Spec, No. 57. 

" If he looks upon himself in an abstracted light, he has 
not much to boast of; but if he considers himself with re- 
gard to others." — Spec, No. 73. 

** The next way of a nian^s bringing his good nature to 
the test is, to consider whether it operates according to the 
rules of reason and duty ; for if notwithstanding its gene- 
ral benevolence to mankind, it makes no distinction be- 
tween its objects, if it exerts itself promiscuously towards 
the deserving and the undeserving ; if it relieves alike the 
i^le and the indigent, if it gives itself up to the first peti- 
tioner, and lights upon any one rather by accident than 
choice, it may pass for an amiable instinct, but must not 
assume the name of a moral virtue " — Spec. No, 177. 

The subjunctive mode, and not the indicative, is requir- 
ed in all these instances. In the latter part of the last sen- 
tence, we have a little nonsense : " moral virtue !" The writer 
must of course have thought there were immoral virtues, 
as well as moral ones, or why make the distinction? If 
he could correctly say ** moral virtue^" he could also cor- 
rectly say immoral vice ; and to say this would imply that 
he thought there was such a thing as moral vice in the 
world. "Moral virtue," is moral morality; or virtuous 
virtue. It is like frosty ice, or wet water. 

"I could not have thought it had been in the child.''— 
Spec, No. 67. 

" Ben Jonson used to say he had rather have been the 
author of it than of all his works." — Spec. No. 70. 

The double past time, amounting to nonsense, is used 
in both thede instances. The first should be, " I could not 
have thought it to &e, or could not have thought it teas, in 
the child ;" and the second, " he would rather have 6eeif,'* 
or, " he would rather he the author of it than of all his 

" I shall endeavour, as much as possible to establish 
among us a taste of polite wriUng."— i%)cc. No. SS. 


** A taste" foTy th'iB should be. 

" We think you, sir, a very proper person to address io,^ 
— Spec, No, 78. 

It is well enough to have plenty of a good thing ; but 
here is rather too much. The last *Uo," sliould be 

A little more philosophy in order to the subduing our 
passions.'* — Spec. No, 95. 

*♦ Tke heating down this false notion of honour." — Spec, 

" To enjoy so constant a farce as the observing man- 
kind."— .5/>cc. No, 228. 

*^ The most difficult province in friendship is the letting 
a man see his faults and errors." — Spec, No, 385. 

When an article is used before an active participle, a 
preposition must follow : " the subduing of our passions." 
••The beating down of this false notion of honour." " The 
observing of mankind," " The letting of a man see 
his faults and errors." 

»* I am one of the most genteel trades of the city." — Spec. 
No, 240. 

*♦ I am of one," this should be. 

" From hence, accordingly as they are stained with news 
and politics."— ^cc. JVb. 367. 

Here is tautology, again. What is the meaning ofhenct ? 
From this place. So that, " from hence," is, "FROM/rowi 
this place,'* 


«• I remember I was once taken up for a Jesuit, for no 
other reason but my profound taciturnity." — Spec, No, 4. 

It is not correct to use " but" and " other" together. 
" For no reason but my profound taciturnity ;" or, " for no 
other reason than my profound taciturnity;" either of 
these will do; but "other" and "but" together, will never 

" He had no sooner got out of the wood, but he was 
entertained with such a landscape of flowery plains.** — 
SpecNo. 56 

" We were no sooner sat down, but upon casting my 
eyes about the room," — Spec. No, 57. 


Whenever the comparative degree of an adjective, or 
adverb, is used, than, and not " but," most forin part of the 
sentence. " Were" and " sat," in the last paragraph, should 
be ?iad and sitten ; " we had no sooner sitlen down." 

"What can make a man so much in constant good 
humour, and shine as we call it, than to be supported by 
what can never fail him. — Spec. No, 75. 

" So much than" is rather queer English. " Sa much'* 
a«, was meant. 

*'She is in the time of life which is neither affected 
with the follies of youth, or infirmities of age." — Spec, 
No, 11. 

" This was done probably to show that he was neither 
ashamed of his name or family." — Spec, No, 59, 

When " neither" is used, nor, and not " or," must fol- 

** Whether he had observed me to be more attentive than 
ordinary, I cmnot tell, but he had not stood by me above a 
quarter of a minute, but he turned short upon me, on a 
8udden,"Spec, No, 31. 

The last " but" should be when, or before; and the " on 
a sudden" is perfectly useless ; as ** to turn short upon" a 
person, is by every one known to be, to turn suddenly upon 
■ him. But this writer was determined " to make assurance 
doubly sure;" and therefore proclaimed that the "observer" 
not only "turned suddenly upon him," but, "turned sud- 
denly upon him, on fl sudden /" 

" That though a prince could not revive a dead man by 
taking the life of him who killed him, neither could he 
make reparation to the next that should die by the evil ex- 
ample." — Spec, No, 97. 

How this sentence is spoiled, and rendered almost unin- 
telligible, by the improper use of a single word ! Take out 
" though" and put in as, and the sentence can be under- 


*' It is worth while to consider the force of dress ; and 
how the persons of one age differ from those of another, 
merely by that only,"-^Spec. No, 109. 


Here is tautology. "Merely," without "only," or "only," 
without " merely," would be cotrect ; but bath make sad 

" Such is the variety of opinions which are here enter- 
tained of me, 80 that I pass among some for a disaffected 
person, and among others for a popish priest; among 
some for a wizard, and among others for a murderer."-— 
Sjfiec. No, 131. 

" So", should be omitted in this sentence ; or a full point 
should be made afler " me," and " so," then commence a 
new sentence. 

" If there were no injunctions to the contrary, yet this 
practice must be confessed to diminish the pleasure of the 
audience." — Spec. No. 240. 

" Yet" should be omitted; and before "if" the word 
even, placed; as " even if there were no injunctions to the 
contrary, this practice must be confessed to diminishthe 
pleasure of the audience." 


" Upon which the good lady turned her softness into 
downright rage, and threw the scalding tea-kettle upon 
your humble servant, flew into the middle of the room, and 
cried out she was the unfortunatest of all women." — Spec, 
No. 216. 

This is a gross error : One that even the commonest writer 
knowing nothing of the rules of grammar, would scarcely 
fall into ; and one which the writer must have been at some 
trouble to think of, as most unfortunate is a hundred times 
more likely than this to occur to one's mind. 

** I should have more imitators than the powerfulUst 
man in the nation has followers." — Spec, No. 270. 

This grror is similar to the one above. Moet powerful 
is correct.